Case Study: MCP Assessment Leads to Upgrade of Shenandoah County's Aging LMR System

Client Success Story: MCP Helps California Court System Provide Enhanced Service to Stakeholders

The state of California’s court system processed more than 4.5 million cases in fiscal year 2021-2022. These cases all have one thing in common — each produced a substantial amount of paper in the form of filings, depositions, affidavits, evidence, testimony, and judgments.

The Superior Court of California – Marin County sought to digitize its operations and enhance its technology environment that consisted of four aging and unreliable computer systems. It hired Mission Critical Partners to support the project. MCP provided subject-matter expertise pertaining to technology implementation and integration, project management, and change management.


In the legacy environment, litigants must physically visit the County’s only courthouse, during specific hours of the day, to avail themselves of a court’s services. For many people, this is no easy task because they are unable to leave work, unable to secure childcare, suffer from health conditions that restrict their mobility, lack transportation, or experience myriad other limitations. Each of these factors represents a significant barrier to justice.

Further, paper-based operations are unwieldy and error-prone, which creates numerous burdens, not only for litigants but also for court personnel, e.g., judges, administrative staff, prosecutors, and defense attorneys.

To address these challenges, the Superior Court decided to embark on a multiyear project to digitize its operations. The effort included replacing four antiquated computer systems, including the court’s case-management systems, which needed upgrading to support digital operations.

What MCP Did

A team of MCP subject-matter experts collaborated with court personnel to develop a “digital-by-default” strategy whereby all court services could be accessed digitally via web-based portals.

MCP also provided procurement, implementation, and project-management support pertaining to the replacement of the four computer systems.

Finally, the firm provided considerable guidance regarding change management, which was fundamental to the project’s success, according to Joe Wheeler, the firm’s vice president of justice and courts, who also chairs the IJIS Institute’s board of directors.

Because change represents the unknown, organizations tend to resist it. Change is scary. Nevertheless, it is how organizations and people evolve. And evolution is necessary—if organizations and people do not adapt to changing conditions, they sooner or later will encounter difficulties. Worse, they eventually will be unable to effectively serve stakeholders whose needs and wants continually evolve due to ever-changing conditions.

MCP’s subject-matter experts partnered with the court in developing the following change management strategies:

  • Develop a communications plan to regularly update stakeholders about the project’s benefits, changes, challenges, and progress. The plan incorporated multiple channels including emails, instant messages, and video meetings.
  • Actively seek feedback and address concerns throughout the process via regularly scheduled stakeholder meetings.
  • Implement change-management training to create a knowledge base of strategies prior to the project’s start.
  • Develop a comprehensive training program tailored to different user levels.
  • Offer continuous support, including help desks, FAQ sections, and one-on-one assistance.

“The court took a systematic and principles-based approach to helping staff members, judicial officers, and other stakeholders adopt new tools and procedures as a result of this project,” Wheeler said.


Significant achievements stemming from this project include the following:

  • All new and archived court documents are digitized.
  • The court can now leverage e-filing services and implemented an e-delivery
  • The case-management system has been modernized to enable automation of case-processing workflows; to improve document and data capture and management; and to streamline document production.
  • Litigants and involved parties now receive timely notifications.
  • Artificial-intelligence and robotic-process-automation technologies are being leveraged to update the case-management system, reducing backlogs and data-entry errors, and helping staff members process case-related data and documents in real time.
  • A web-based portal was launched that provides both attorneys and members of the public with case information electronically, as well as access to remote documents pursuant to California State Rules of Court.

It should be noted that litigants unable to take advantage of the digital capabilities still can access paper-based, in-person services.


The digital-by-default strategy improves the speed, transparency, and equity of court operations. It does so in two ways. First, litigants no longer must visit the courthouse l in Marin County, during specific hours of the day, to seek justice. Second, the process of archiving and accessing court documents has been streamlined and made much easier

The IJIS Institute designated this project to receive its highly prestigious Thomas J. Reilly Innovation Award for 2023. The award recognizes technical innovation that has contributed significantly to information in the public sector. According to James Kim, executive officer for Marin County Superior Court, the award holds special significance because it underscores the court’s commitment to innovation in the justice system.

“This remains at the core of our mission in Marin County,” Kim said. “We are dedicated to promoting information sharing within our community and across the state of California, while also striving to ensure that everyone has meaningful access to the justice system.”

Kim praised MCP’s support of the project, particularly the role played by Wheeler. “Joe was critical in helping us develop the digital-by-default strategy,” Kim said.

2023 Court Statistics Report – Statewide Caseload Trends, Judicial Council of California.

Topics: Case Studies

Posted on February 1, 2024

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