May 2021 #YourMOLaw month in review
The news for #YourMOLaw in May kicked off with a series of video tutorials designed to help Missouri citizens learn to use Webex. Beginning in April, the state court system authorized the use of Webex as the required platform to hold court proceedings virtually, but not everyone is familiar with that application. To facilitate the use of this program statewide, the bar created videos on basic use of the system from joining meetings to using the microphone and changing backgrounds. To read the article or access the video links, click here.
The Missouri Bar helped distribute information on behalf of the Supreme Court of Missouri regarding the interview schedule for the vacancy created by Judge Laura Denvir Stith's retirement, which was open to the public. Those interviews resulted in the May 24 appointment of Judge Robin Ransom of St. Louis by Governor Parson. Ransom is set to be the first Black woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Missouri.
A recurring theme in this month’s news has been access to justice during the pandemic. It was noted in a recent article that Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org pioneered virtual access to justice for pro bono clients in the state. Since 2017, the Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org site has made it possible for low to moderate income individuals to get answers to non-criminal legal questions free of charge. To date, more than 8,500 Missourians have registered for assistance through the site.
The Missouri Bar has also been awarding grants to non-profit organizations and courts to improve virtual access to justice. This March, the bar’s COVID-19 Response Task Force recommended circuit courts continue using remote proceedings for purposes such as non-evidentiary hearings, pretrial discovery, or alternative dispute resolution. Since the emergence of the pandemic last year, technology has increased the ability of citizens to access the court system more efficiently.
The grant program is intended to provide technology funds to courts and organizations providing legal assistance other than Legal Aid offices. Applications will be accepted until funds for the program are depleted; access the application here.
Check back at the end of next month for #YourMOLaw news from June!