After watching a demonstration at the Courtroom 21 Project -- the world's most technologically advanced trial and appellate courtroom -- many of the international guests had the same question while visiting the William and Mary Law School. How can we develop something like this in our home country?
The Jan. 14 Law School visit - which included 13 legal professionals from a dozen different countries in the Middle East and North Africa , was part of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. The visitors - who include lawyers, law professors and officials from Algeria, Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qartar, Saudia Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Iraq and Yemen -- are spending three weeks in the United States to travel to different parts of the country to study our legal system. Before coming to Williamsburg, the group spent time in Washington D.C. and had the chance to witness arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Law School visit was designed to give the international guests a first-hand look at American legal education and allow them to interact and meet with students, faculty and administrators.
Dean Taylor Reveley gave the international guests an overview of the Law School's curriculum and the American legal system. The guests were also treated to a presentation of technologies in Courtroom 21's McGlothlin Courtroom.
"This is perfect technology," said Saudi Arabian lawyer Abdullah B. Al-Bakr, after watched a presentation on the capabilities of video conferencing and remote witnesses, as well as demonstrations on a voice-activated device used for court reporting and a digital recorder that allows for real-time transcription of court testimony. "We would like to take the system they have developed here back to Saudia Arabia. It's saves a lot of time."
Several more visitors said they would like to learn more about the courtroom technology. Mollie Nichols, associate director of research and professional development of Courtroom 21, said the project currently has formal partnerships with law schools in the United Kingdom and Australia. They are always open to adding more, she added.
"We are very interested in the Middle East," Nichols said. "We don't have any (partnerships) in that region of the world yet."