If it works for leisure, how 'bout litigation? -
Denese Rodgers

I am one huge fan of Travelocity. I have all my preferences saved, and when I get an itch to go loafering, I hit a few keys, whip out a credit card, and the computer sends me on my merry way to meander the mapped world.

I can remember being in the Corporate World having to use the official company travel agent. Since that official agent was shooting fish in a barrel, you usually had to provide a pint of blood, your mother's maiden name, and swear allegiance to Corporate in order to book reservations.

Travelocity (and Expedia, Orbitz, Hotwire, etc.) have probably put an end to most of that. I don't know if it is functional obsolescence or the traveler's version of Darwinism, but it has to have made travel a more do-able thing for a much wider audience.

Watching television the other afternoon, one of the two dozen, court-based, reality shows hit my radar. I said, "Hmmm." First there was Judge Judy, then Judge Mathis, then Judge Hatchett. Now, there's a proliferation of these shows.

I've noticed that they are market-specific -- obviously to interest the local crowd and local, legal eagles, along with those with a morbid fascination to see what egregious tangles ordinary folks get into with each other.

At the end of the shows, it states something to the effect that the litigants have agreed to have their complaints handled in the televised forum, in lieu of formal, systemic adjudication. I said, "Hmmmm" again.

So my newest million-dollar idea is to cross-breed the technology that is currently in place in the travel industry with the heavy case loads in court, and see if we can come up with www.Iwantmydayincourt.com (or some cryptically clever acronym that reflects the type of litigation, or the court of venue).

The District Attorney's office (and the Solicitor) may have a whole new way to adjudicate cases here.

In much the same way I tell Travelocity where I want to go and what hotel I prefer, the plaintiff and the defendant could enter their cases (and pleas) and what they might concede in order to facilitate resolution of the case. This could just put turbo engines on traffic court, yes?

I got a ticket in Atlanta three or four years ago. After what it took to get up there, sit forever, and still lose (which I knew I would), I would have much preferred to sit at home with a cup of coffee and just whip out my credit card.

And of course, fees and fines could be paid through credit cards and direct funds transfer. Fast cash flow for the court system, yes?

First and foremost, you'd have to have a user ID that included an indemnification for the courts, and an understanding that you are trading in your court case for online adjudication. There's also got to be some way to build in references to a law library.

Oh my stars, I just thought of the advertising opportunities! In the sidebars and along the bottom, a virtual parade of resources, attorneys, and pizza coupons.

I'm not sure how attorney Ken Nugent would need to change his ads, though: "Log in and get Ken?"

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.