Virtual proceedings are here to stay. The ease and economy of convening meetings, depositions and trials online make it likely that we will continue doing so even when remote work is not mandated. However, the past year has shown that many lawyers were unprepared to represent clients through online platforms. This resulted in missteps that expose them to disciplinary consequences because the ethical rules are not relaxed during the pandemic.
When I started at a Wall Street firm nearly four decades ago, we worked differently. Lawyers did not have computers, laptops, tablets or cell phones so we did not have voicemail, email or texting at our disposal. Instead, our team used memory typewriters, faxes and photocopies. Court papers, contracts and correspondence came by mail and, if urgent, by hand delivery. Telephone messages were conveyed by pink slips left on our desks. And “if it absolutely, positively had to be there overnight,” we splurged on Federal Express.
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