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Featured Session: Rebooting Justice

NCSC is pleased to announce the featured session for eCourts 2018: Rebooting Justice: More Technology, Fewer Lawyers, and the Future of Law.

University of Tennessee Law Professor Benjamin H. Barton will expand on the ideas in his (and co-author Stephanos Bibas) 2017 book Rebooting Justice. They argue that our laws are too complex and legal advice too expensive. Both are obstacles for the poor and even middle-class Americans to get help and protect their rights.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Rebooting Justice “jump-start[s] a much-needed conversation about the future of the practice of law.”

Criminal defendants facing jail time may receive an appointed lawyer who is juggling hundreds of cases and immediately urges them to plead guilty. Civil litigants are even worse off; usually, they get no help at all navigating the maze of technical procedures and rules.

The answer is to use technology and procedural innovation to simplify and change the process itself. In the civil and criminal courts where ordinary Americans appear the most, we should streamline complex procedures and assume that parties will not have a lawyer, rather than the other way around. We need a cheaper, simpler, faster justice system to control costs.

Biography

Professor Ben Barton is the author of Glass Half Full: The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession, the co-author of Rebooting Justice (Encounter), and a Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee. He has worked as an associate at a large law firm, clerked for a federal judge, represented the indigent for 12 years as a clinical law professor, and now teaches torts, contracts, and advocacy evidence. Rebooting Justice was positively reviewed by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and his scholarship has been discussed in USA Today, The ABA Journal, and TIME magazine. Cambridge University Press published his first book, The Lawyer-Judge Bias in the American Courts, in 2011 and re-released it in softcover in 2013. His law review articles have been published in the International Journal of Law and Economics, The Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, and the law reviews of the Universities of Toronto, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and California.

Professor Barton won the student selected Harold C. Warner Outstanding Teacher Award in 2013. In 2014–15 he received a Fulbright Award to teach Comparative Law at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. He has been named the Outstanding Faculty Advisor for UT Pro Bono three times and has received the Marilyn V. Yarbrough and Carden Awards for his scholarship. He is the winner of the 2010 LSAC Philip D. Shelton Award for outstanding research in legal education for the article “Is There a Correlation Between Law Professor Publication Counts, Law Review Citation Counts, and Teaching Evaluations? An Empirical Study.” He served as the Director of Clinical Programs from 2007–11.