How the Judicial System Is Adapting To the Covid-19 Outbreak
The Covid-19 outbreak has forced most businesses to adjust their practices of conducting business. And the legal profession is no exception.
If you want to consult anyone about any legal issues, during normal times you rely on face-to-face communication with a lawyer.
But to prevent the spread of Covid-19, law firms in Maryland have put in place standard Covid protocols, which include but not limited to, minimizing or completely eliminating in-person contact with clients.
It is reassuring that lawyers are resorting to abundant precautions while continuing to provide legal services.
One of the modes being used extensively is the use of technology for lawyer-client communications.
Lots of client-attorney interactions are occurring over the phone. As some law firms in Maryland have continued to remain open, lawyers and staff are present to respond to telephone calls. However, many law offices have closed with the staff and lawyers operating remotely from their homes.
With several email and file sharing apps available, there is no need for you to physically hand over documents at the attorney’s office.
At times, interactions over phone can be inadequate. And so many attorneys are making use of video conferencing for interaction with clients.
Legal issues are sensitive. They require precise communication. It is by now well-known that humans process visual information faster than text or audio. When you meet a lawyer face to face, you make a personal connection and build trust. Importantly video conferencing saves money by delivering a collaborative in-person experience without the need to travel.
Covid-19 outbreak has put up tough challenges to those in financial distress and wanting to file for bankruptcy. Luckily, many courts have compromised on rules temporarily making it easier for many a bankruptcy law firm Maryland to represent quarantined clients.
Bankruptcy courts across the country have realized that appearing in courts and attending to hearings can increase exposure to Covid-19.
Consequently, courts have put in place following requirements/changes.
- All persons entering courts must wear face masks.
- Some courts have waived “wet signatures” on bankruptcy petitions. This waiver is allowing law firms in Maryland to review filled bankruptcy forms virtually before filing them online.
- In-person 341 meeting of creditors stand canceled till further notice.
- Other changes include modified courthouse entry protocols, extended dates for filing deadlines, and altered clerk office hours.
Many countries, the United States included, were unprepared to handle the Covid-19 crisis. Understandably the government focused on appropriate health response such as asking a good slice of the workforce to work from home to reduce the spread of the virus.
Due to the unique nature of the judicial system that requires in-person participation in proceedings, the formal justice system was challenged. However, the judicial system seized upon opportunities to innovate and keep the judicial system running.
Federal courts are separately coordinating with state and local health officials to obtain information on the status of Covid-19.
Finding a lawyer during the corona virus outbreak can be a trying task especially if you have health problems. Try finding an attorney among law firms in Maryland using an online directory, or consider asking friends and other lawyers for referrals.