One of the many disadvantages of working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic is that we interact with our colleagues so much less frequently, making it less likely that information about new legal developments will circulate widely and quickly through the attorney community. Perhaps for this reason, we have found that many practitioners are unaware that, this past February, the court system implemented new rules of practice for New York courts. Some of these rules significantly change the procedures governing court appearances, discovery and motion practice.
The rules were put into effect by Administrative Order 270/2020, which was issued by Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks. In the preface to the order, Judge Marks stated that the Administrative Board of the Courts was of the view that “the COVID-19 pandemic has created unique opportunities for permanent reform.” Thus, he continued, the board had deemed it advisable to make a number of rules currently followed in the Commercial Divisions generally applicable in most courts of general jurisdiction. In this column, we will discuss the content of what we believe are the most important new rules.