State Bar recognizes court team's quick, innovative response to pandemic

Madison, Wisconsin - November 4, 2020

A Wisconsin court system team led by Director of State Courts Randy R. Koschnick is being recognized for its quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the innovative use of technology in keeping courts operational and accessible.

On Dec. 4, the State Bar of Wisconsin will present a "2020 Wisconsin Legal Innovator" award to Koschnick, with recognition going to a number of employees from CCAP (Consolidated Court Automation Programs) and the Office of Court Operations, including District Court Administrators.

Among other achievements, the award recognizes the team's role in the rapid deployment of Zoom online remote meeting technology in courts throughout the state at the onset of the pandemic. Zoom has made it possible for circuit court judges to take appearances and conduct some court proceedings without having to gather all participants in person.

"The State Bar's recognition of Director Koschnick and his staff is well deserved. They responded quickly and effectively to very difficult and challenging circumstances. Not only has the court system benefited as a result, but also the justice system as a whole," said Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Drake Roggensack.

Tom Watson of the State Bar's Legal Innovation Subcommittee credited the team with keeping the state legal system moving during the pandemic.

"This has been an absolute savior both for our legal system and the people who work in it, and for clients whose futures depend on these legal matters," Watson said.

Each year, the State Bar recognizes a number of legal innovators through its That's a Fine Idea: Legal Innovation Wisconsin Initiative.

Koschnick said Zoom has been crucial in keeping cases moving to the greatest extent possible, and reducing a potentially much larger backlog of cases. But Zoom would not be an effective tool without acceptance and support from the State Bar and its lawyer members, Koschnick said.

"We put the technology and resources in place, but this was a much broader effort, involving just about all stakeholders in the justice system," Koschnick said.

Since mid-March, CCAP has activated 432 Zoom accounts and logged more than 34 million minutes of online meetings. These figures include proceedings at all levels of the courts, as well as staff, departmental, administrative and employee meetings of all types and some Judicial Education programming, said court system Chief Information Officer Jean Bousquet.

The award also recognizes court use of YouTube in making Zoom proceedings easily accessible to the public. By the end of October, 181 circuit court branches or court commissioners in 37 counties had established YouTube livestream channels for this purpose. Links to livestream channels of court proceedings can be found here.

Staff at the Office of Court Operations, along with staff from CCAP, developed detailed procedures and instructions to assist judges in using Zoom and YouTube in the court environment, said Diane Fremgen, Deputy Director for Court Operations. District Court Administrators assisted courts throughout the state with the implementation of Zoom.

CCAP, judges and District Court Administrators also worked with county government staff where needed to integrate CCAP networks and equipment with existing courthouse technology, such as videoconferencing equipment.

The award also recognizes court use of technology to expand language access to the courts through Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) on the Zoom platform. VRI is helping circuit courts address a shortage of interpreters in some parts of the state and in some less commonly spoken languages, said Court Interpreter Program Manager Carmel Capati.

The interpreter function of Zoom allows courts to connect remotely with interpreters, wherever they may be available, such as another county, judicial district, or even another state.

"We had established a VRI pilot program, but the interpreter feature in Zoom rapidly accelerated implementation, and this tool is now available to judges throughout the state," Capati said.

The Director of State Courts and team will be recognized, along with this year's other Legal Innovator winners, at the State Bar of Wisconsin's Board of Governors' meeting on Dec. 4. The award winners are also featured in the November issue of Wisconsin Lawyer magazine.

The court system team being recognized includes:

Director of State Courts Randy R. Koschnick

Office of Court Operations

  • Deputy Director for Court Operations Diane Fremgen
  • Court Interpreter Program Manager Carmel Capati
  • Policy Analyst Ann Olson
  • Legal Advisor Amber Peterson


  • Chief Information Officer Jean Bousquet
  • Technical Consultant Matt Kohl
  • Deputy Chief Information Officer Ken McKelvey
  • Customer Services Manager Andrea Olson

Judicial District Court Administrators:

  • Jon Bellows, District Four
  • Patrick Brummond, District Seven
  • Susan Byrnes, District Nine
  • Christopher Channing, District Ten
  • Louis Moore, District Two
  • Michael Neimon, District Three
  • Theresa Owens, District Five
  • Thomas Schappa, District Eight
  • Holly Szablewski, District One

Tom Sheehan
Court Information Officer
(608) 261-6640

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