Court Innovations, the first company to spin out of University of Michigan Law School, is expanding access to the court system, one click at a time. Its online platform, MatterhornTM, frees citizens to resolve outstanding issues without going to court. Matterhorn is currently in use at several Michigan courts, and Court Innovations has grown to 10 employees and interns in the last year.
There’s no denying the need for an innovative approach to handling the backlog of cases that judges and the courts currently experience, and that offering a new way for citizens to interact with the court can improve the judicial process. This truly transformative opportunity is what inspired JJ Prescott, a law professor at University of Michigan and his former student Ben Gubernick, to found Court Innovations and push the technology to market.
The chance to make an impact attracted MJ Cartwright, Court Innovations’ president, to the company. She said, “Building a company that can make a huge impact on our court infrastructure, including the ability for all citizens to access the judicial system, is an exciting opportunity.”
As part of building the company, Cartwright and Prescott worked with University of Michigan’s Office of Tech Transfer. The team also attracted one of the first investments awarded by University of Michigan’s Third Century Initiative, a $50 million/5-year initiative to develop innovative, multi-disciplinary teaching and scholarship approaches.
Tracy Davis, Court Innovations’ product director, explained that the company is perfectly positioned to educate the public on what justice means in today’s judicial system. “We have a great, unique opportunity to help people understand what courts do. We tend to see courts as the ‘punishing’ entity, but courts exist to ensure that we are heard, and that justice is served.”