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Loyola Law School: Technology is Nine Points of the Law

Educating future lawyers isn’t what it used to be. Technology in the courtroom is becoming the standard for legal proceedings and Loyola’s new $10 million Albert H. Girardi Advocacy Center is a prime example of how law schools are preparing their students for the future of litigation. Hoffman Video Systems, a Los Angeles-based A/V systems integration company, designed, built, and installed $1.3 million in sophisticated audio/video equipment in 10 rooms within the Advocacy Center.

High-Tech Courtrooms
Two trial advocacy classrooms were designed to simulate modern courtrooms, each with a Judges’ bench seating up to three judges, counsel tables, a jury box, witness stand, and a gallery. With the technology of a wired control touch panel, the judges have the ability to direct and communicate with the parties involved without allowing the jury to see the information until it has been deemed admissible.

Jurors have 15-inch LCD panels in the jury box. A portable 50-inch plasma screen, and two rear projection screens are utilized for audience and counsel display. The movable lectern is equipped with a 15-inch LCD panel, a networked PC with keyboard and mouse, fixed gooseneck microphone, and a 10-inch control panel minimizing—if not eliminating—the need for trips back and forth to the counsel table. All of this high-tech A/V equipment enables each participant and observer of the mock trials or lectures to view data simultaneously and instantly.

The jury room accommodates twelve individuals at a fixed conference table. Hoffman equipped the room for computer and video display in single-image format with one wall-mount 50-inch plasma and a Smart-touch screen overlay, giving the jurors the ability to make notations directly onto the screen.

The Ethical Lawyering classroom accommodates 32 students in a classroom configuration with fixed desks. The room has two ceiling-mount projectors that project onto two wall-mounted Smart Boards, allowing the instructor to focus on specific parts of a document on a large screen display device. The instructor’s workstation has the capability for audio reproduction and remote control of video cameras.

  • Loyola Law School’s Girardi Advocacy Center incorporates high-tech A/V.
  • Miami-Dade Community College students train for the future with the latest technology.
  • Oregon University System offers a more complete educational experience for all students with interactive video communications.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison involves the campus community for success in IT implementations.

Control Capabilities
Hoffman designed the control room to be managed by one or two individuals, however there is enough room for four if needed. A joystick on the console operates the remote camera control for all classrooms. The operator has a master recording system, production switcher, and a 32-input mixing board connected to all the microphones, as well as a master intercom system. Mock trial proceedings, mediations and negotiations, and classroom lessons can be recorded for further study and dissection at a later date.

Karl Manheim, a law school faculty member says "Judges will need the ability to control audio and video routing, while facilitating the sharing of data and evidence among attorneys, witnesses, and jurors. The courtroom of the 21st century is an electronic one. Digital evidence, remote witnesses, and sophisticated document management systems are becoming commonplace. The face of the courtroom is changing and Loyola Law School is at the center of change with the innovative technology of the Albert H. Girardi Advocacy Center."

About the Author

Karl Manheim is a professor at Loyola Law School.

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