IDEAL Event on CS+Law: Evaluation and Accountability Workshop – April 30, 2021

Matterhorn’s Founder J.J. Prescott will speak tomorrow, Friday, April 30th, 2021. The presentation “Evaluating the Effects of Court-Technology Innovations” is part of the CS + Law: Evaluation and Accountability event.

The CS+Law event took place online via presentations and small group discussions Noon–4 PM Central Time, Friday, April 30. J.J. Prescott spoke first at noon-12:30 PM Central Time. Here is an archive of his talk. Here are the other talks from the event.

A picture of JJ Prescott with information about the event.
Evaluating the Effects of Court-Technology Innovations

Over the last five to ten years, state courts in the U.S. have begun to develop and implement online dispute resolution (ODR) platforms, communication technology that essentially allows individuals to “go to court” online. Commentators have suggested that these systems have the potential to enhance access to justice, fairness in process, accuracy in outcomes, and efficiency in court operation. With the right data, and sometimes the right implementation schedule, it is possible to use traditional program evaluation methods (as well as experiments) to identify the effects of these innovations on a range of important outcomes. In this talk, I will describe the straightforward techniques I have used in projects studying one ODR system in particular (Matterhorn) across a range of case contexts: traffic, warrants, and small claims. The same approaches can be used to study technology’s effects on racial and other disparities. ODR describes a wide-range of online applications, and it is important to recognize the external validity problem in drawing inferences from my Matterhorn-related findings to the likely consequences of ODR applications in general. Nevertheless, the basic empirical methods available to study technology implementation in courts are valid and general—and they ought to be a part of the legal technology toolkit.

J.J. Prescott’s presentation abstract

The event is hosted by IDEAL, the Institute for Data, Economics, Algorithms, and Learning at Northwestern University. It is also part of the Special Quarter on Data Science and Law.

Learn more and see all of the archived talks from the event at the IDEAL website. Here is a direct link to the archive of J.J.’s talk.

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