Pandemic. Panic. Please avoid becoming part of the first one and do not get involved with the second one at all.
These are new and uncertain times, with guidance becoming clearer every day. That applies to the legal world too. Of course, it might take some getting used to. There will be inevitable ‘can everyone hear me’ in conference calls but I have great faith in the creativity, inventiveness and kindness of humans. We can and we will band together for the benefit of us all to keep everyone safe, allow life to keep on moving and draw into the fold those who previously thought they were invincible and these measures would not touch them.
So what of courts and legal firms? The message is clear that the justice system will continue but it will continue using, at last, all of the technical resources available. There have been many times when I have gone to court and thought ‘why are we all here? Why can’t we do this by phone/video/paper?’ because it is such a straightforward matter at that particular hearing that needs judicial input. That’s why I jumped on board with arbitration as soon as possible because arbitration has been using all of those techniques already. Want a remote arbitration hearing? No problem. Want a paper based decision? Fine. I have never understood why the court service has not been able to use all the tech to help with waiting times, administration and so on. In the past, it was money being put into the resources, I think. Now, necessity is the mother of invention and the court is embracing new technology faster than I have ever seen before. That is a silver lining in all of the cloud.
What of solicitor’s firms? For me, personally, aside from court hearings and dealing with the court, there is very little change to the way I work. I set up Dovaston Law to be paperless, using all the technology to allowing me to work from any location, at times that suited me and my clients, with all of the Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp and any other tech that helped. I’m an old hand at remote video conferencing, sharing documents by email, using any tech I can to help. My love of tech seems to be a ‘happy’ co-incidence now.
For the more traditional solicitor’s firm set up, I am hearing that they are splitting teams, allowing people to work from home and adapting. I have no doubt they will. As I say, we humans are an inventive lot.
What about court hearings? Well many of those will be dealt with on paper, by phone or remote conference. The number of cases where personal attendance is required are greatly reduced. Your solicitor will guide you and advise you, as I will do for my people.
If you are someone who needs help, contact me. We can deal with it together in a way that best suits you. No toilet roll required.