Current litigation email practices are unsustainable and were made considerably worse by the COVID-19 pandemic social-distancing measures. While there has been much discussion about what pandemic-era changes—in technology and otherwise—will be kept going forward, the end of the pandemic presents us with an opportunity to change our damaging email habits for the sake of our practices and our clients.
The COVID-19 pandemic and attendant social-distancing measures ushered in a host of changes to litigation simply to keep our practices afloat and our clients’ interests secure and protected. Some of these changes were already in progress—or at least being considered—with an eye toward efficiency and were merely hastened out of necessity. For example, Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby began to move toward a hybrid remote work setup to reduce its real estate footprint in 2018 with “hoteling,” where in certain cases a firm attorney would forego having a set office to go to every day but would be able to reserve one as needed. Like many other firms, Weber Gallagher had also reached the point where all incoming documents were scanned into the litigation management program so that paper copies were unnecessary, and work could be accomplished from anywhere with internet access. Some changes were novel to most litigators, including the extensive use of remote technology to conduct depositions and interact with the courts. Courts are considering the continued use of remote technology to conduct status conferences, oral arguments, and other court events where appropriate. It is foreseeable that remote depositions will continue to occur for at least some witnesses. These and other changes are here to stay and are arguably positive developments that promote efficiency and accessibility.