The coronavirus pandemic has almost caused the Florida court system to completely shut down. Most of the buildings are closed for business, as they should be. Nonetheless, for those of us who regularly practice in the Florida courts, it is both somewhat unrealistic and unnecessary for absolutely everything to grind to a screeching halt for an unknown and likely substantial period of time. For much of the business world, and for many attorneys, working remotely has been a reality for the better part of the last decade. So, why is it that the Florida courts have been so slow to adapt? Does the legal community and the clients it serves have to remain paralyzed with trials stacking up and hearing calendars cancelled? The answer is no. Here are some suggestions of things we can do now to make this new reality work for our clients so that when the pandemic is over, which we all hope will be soon, we are not hopelessly behind.
Virtual Hearings. Most court hearings do not require witness testimony. Court call remains available. The entire court docket for every case is now available online. Judges can access their email remotely just like everyone else so they can read courtesy copies prior to any hearing. And, of course, lawyers are now using Zoom, GoToMeeting and FaceTime. The Dade County Bar Association just conducted a board of directors meeting using GoToMeeting that was attended by 41 people who could all see and hear one another.
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