Working Backwards to Step Forward
The CJDC team collaborated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) through multiple design sprints in 2020 and 2021 to sharpen our product definition and customer focus. AWS uses a “Working Backwards” model to design and build customer-focused products and services, where design thinking helps refine scope, user interactions, workflows, and system architecture. These workshops helped CJDC define its immediate goals. With AWS assistance, the core components of the CJDC emerged.
AWS intends to increase partnerships like this through its new ‘AWS Innovation Studio’, where Amazon experts will collaborate with public sector organizations at their Arlington, Virginia HQ2 campus. The AWS Innovation Studio will focus on finding ways to address some of the world’s most pressing societal issues—from homelessness, to climate change, to education inequality—taking organizations through Amazon’s working backwards process, and leveraging its wide range of technologies, including artificial intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning.
The CJDC-AWS partnership is featured in AWS Worldwide Public Sector Vice President Max Peterson’s keynote address at the AWS Summit, held September 28-29, 2021 in Washington, D.C. CJDC co-founders Amy O’Hara and Tanina Rostain share reflections on the AWS partnership in the About Amazon blog. The CJDC can securely provide data that impacts our communities. As O’Hara and Rostain describe in the blog, improving research access and increasing standardization across courts will lead to the identification of trends that can inform policies with potentially life-changing effects for civil justice-involved people and local communities.
The CJDC-AWS partnership workshops produced design thinking artifacts like the storyboard on our website, and a long list of Frequently Asked Questions that will be coming soon on our website. A sneak peek of some FAQs are included below. Stay tuned for the full release!
About the CJDC
- What is the CJDC?
The CJDC is a cloud-based interface that empowers researchers to efficiently identify, access and analyze clean, standardized civil justice micro-data from a variety of courts to enable and accelerate the pursuit of just and efficient outcomes.
The CJDC provides access to court-wide, community-wide, and population-level data to understand the prevalence, incidence, and consequences of involvement in the civil justice system, reducing reliance on anecdotal or qualitative data alone.
- How can the CJDC help me with my research?
The CJDC lets researchers focus on their analytical skills, not their bureaucratic skills. The CJDC takes care of the negotiation, agreements, data wrangling, and documentation connected with obtaining and analyzing civil justice data to save researchers time and frustration–and to reduce shortcuts or oversight in data management. And, the CJDC preps the data for secure, responsible research, linking area-level data, removing personally identifiable information, and providing auxiliary information about specific court laws and policies.
Registered users receive updates about new or refreshed data sources and recommendations.
- What phases of the CJDC are planned?
The current phase of the CJDC involves providing agreement-controlled data for authorized users. Future phases may support publication of open data (e.g., dashboards) or controlled transfer of data with PII to support non-CJDC linkages.
- Who are your partners?
The CJDC is a joint project of the Georgetown University Law Center and the Massive Data Institute at Georgetown University. We are supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, JPB Foundation, and McCourt Impact Initiatives. Our data comes from partnerships with these data providers: Legal Services Corporation, Oklahoma Policy Institute, Maricopa County Justice Courts, and Philadelphia Legal Assistance.