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Court Website March Madness Tournament: Midwest Conference

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on March 26, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's time for the third edition of the FindLaw Court Website March Madness Tournament, where we pit state and federal court websites against each other to see who will be the victor. Last week, the Federal Circuit barely beat out the Fourth to claim the title of best court website in the South.

Today, we go home, home on the range, to see which of the Great Plains courts have the most aesthetically pleasing, usable, and timely websites.

Round One Highlights -- And Lowlights

Fiscal conservatives, take note! It doesn't seem like many Midwest courts are shelling out big bucks in website design. Take, for example, the Seventh Circuit, an atrocious website that looks like it was made in MS Word. The Sixth Circuit wasn't much better. Both were handily beaten by Kentucky and Tennessee, respectively. Tennessee particularly impressed with its handy drop down menus, making navigation simple.

Minnesota might have disappointed the most, however. Their website contained no opinions from the state Supreme Court when visited. Only the most recent week's opinions were posted and, since none were handed down that week, there were none to be found. Almost as bad, order sets had to be downloaded in zip files. Easily beaten by Nebraska.

Round Two

Things got tighter in the second round. Kentucky was no match for Tennessee -- again, those menus! Indiana trounced Wisconsin, whose website had a strange aversion to capitalization. Kansas beat Missouri in a close match; the big-on-beige website organized information by public, legal professionals and media, which made for easy browsing.

Round Three

Here comes round three, and, well, we're not in Kansas anymore. The Sunflower State couldn't keep up with South Dakota. While both were well designed and easily to get around, South Dakota won out with a slightly more modern look and well organized and accessible court opinions.

Tennessee was knocked out by Indiana, whose sleek and airy design belied a wealth of information on the opening page. Indiana managed to pack a lot of information into a small space, even including an info graphic on civic life, without feeling crowded or overwhelming.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

It was a close call, but Indiana came out the best in the Midwest, taking down South Dakota in the final round. Its clever organization and light feel couldn't be beat. Judicial Branch of Indiana, give your web designers a raise -- or send them over to the Seventh Circuit, where they're desperately needed.

Stop by on Tuesday for the fourth conference: the West.

Who was your pick for the Midwest Conference?
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