Georgia’s latest surge in coronavirus cases—with more people hospitalized than ever—coincides with some of the first jury trials since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

The judicial state of emergency expired, and the courts started calling jurors and setting trial dates during the relatively hopeful time when vaccinations had first been rolled out and case levels had dropped. But the public health crisis worsened just as trials started up again. In reporting some of the first verdict stories in a year and a half, we’ve been asking the relatively small group of lawyers involved what it was like to try a case in front of a live jury during a pandemic. Their stories include worries and tensions as well as creativity and hope.