Hon. Judge Samantha Jessner is the Assistant Presiding Judge-elect of the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County.
What are three points that describe you?
- I have lead the court’s technology innovation efforts over the last six years.
- I have trained hundreds of judicial officers on court technology.
- I am only the third woman to be elected Assistant Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court which is the largest trial court in the nation and the first woman of color.
How is telework/quarantine going for you?
The court has continued to operate and stay open and accessible throughout the pandemic, but with limited operations. The court’s technology innovation enabled the court to pivot to offering more online and remote services with relative ease.
How did you become involved in legal tech?
Several years ago I was asked to be responsible for judicial communications when the court undertook a long-overdue overhaul of its technology platforms. My role then expanded to responsibility for judicial training which is a significant undertaking given that the court has approximately 600 judicial officers, many of whom are not comfortable with technology. Over the years, I also became involved in court technology policymaking and innovation on a statewide level as a member of the Judicial Council of California’s Information Technology Advisory Committee.
What projects have you been focused on recently?
How to conduct trials, both jury and non-jury, remotely, including juror selection. Before the pandemic, the notion of conducting juror selection via a remote technology platform would have been characterized as blasphemy. In addition, I have been focused on the need to ensure access to justice for the many court users who do not possess the means or ability to access the court remotely in a safe, effective, and efficient manner.
Is there a legal tech resource of any kind that really helped you when you were starting out in the field?
The annual eCourts conference and the National Center for State Courts.
What do you see as the most important emerging tech, legal or not, right now?
A platform that effectively integrates audio and video appearances with a court’s case management system.
What advice would you give to other women who want to get involved in legal tech?
Your voice is valuable and matters. In the legal system, women constitute the majority of courtroom staff. Women know how a courtroom works and what staff and the judicial officer need in order to successful carry out their job duties and responsibilities. In developing and implementing court technology that is effective, there is a great need for the collective voices of the women who know how a courtroom operates and what information is needed and when. Get involved and know that you bring great value to an important field.
Give a shout-out to another woman in legal tech who you admire or have learned something from!
Judge Michelle Williams Court, Judge Amy Yerkey, and Sherri Carter, CEO of the LASC.
On March 3, 2021—March 4, 2021, join the ABA Women Rainmakers Committee for a two-day symposium on closing the legal tech gender gap. Both days include recognizing the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center’s 2021 Women of Legal Tech Honorees. Get inspired by Ignite-style sessions from leading women in legal tech, breakout sessions with leaders in the field, and interactive workshops.