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Bar News - January 16, 2009

Franklin Pierce Opens High-Tech Courtroom


NH Supreme Court Justices James Duggan (at left) and Richard Galway (in the background, at right) observe a demonstration of the recording software in the new Pierce Law moot courtroom.

A new courtroom, outfitted with the same audio/visual technology used in The Hague, Old Bailey and the World Court, was recently completed and opened to the New Hampshire legal community at the Franklin Pierce Law Center.

The facility, said John McCrory, director of communications at Franklin Pierce, will be a valuable learning tool for litigators. The courtroom, he said, can also be used as an active court in the state’s judicial system.

The grand opening, held on Dec. 8, was attended by Supreme Court justices, students, professors and representatives from the companies that helped bring the project to life. During the event, students and professors held mini-mock trials, followed by a guided tour of the technology that recorded the action.

Throughout the courtroom, tiny microphones, invisible to all but the closest scrutiny, are installed to pick up the voices of all participants, regardless of their location in the room. Wall-mounted robotic cameras can record any part of the court and any person speaking. The jury box has two large flat-panel televisions – used to display evidence clearly – that retract into the wall when not in use.

The construction of the courtroom, just one piece of a major renovation at the Law Center, was a collaboration between the school, DC Designs of Concord, which provided the plans, Milestone Engineering of Concord, Single Source Group of Nashua, installers of A/V equipment and sponsor of the open house, and Electronic Dictation Systems of Bellows Falls, Vermont, which provided the ForTheRecord software that allows for recording the trials.

Faculty at Franklin Pierce Law Center say the new facility will be an invaluable resource for students learning to interact with a modern courtroom and will provide the necessary practice to make them ready for real-world cases.

Learn more about the new courtroom at




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