Will COVID-19 have a lasting effect on law practice?
One of the fascinating aspects of COVID-19 has been the advent of so many who became overnight experts on all things, medical and scientific. Most, likewise blessed with great confidence that they, and they alone, have all the correct answers, while those trained in science and medicine have almost universally admitted "they really don't know."
I suspect that we will get through this, either together, or not.
Perhaps the better question is whether we will learn something from the COVID-19 experience that helps make society better...............in all of its nuances.
There is cause for hope.
Will business, big and small, conclude that “telework” can actually enhance productivity, for example, when employees no longer lose two hours a day in smog causing commute?
Will our education system, while honoring the notion that there is no substitute for the in classroom teacher, immerse itself in the use of technological learning where possible; perhaps with savings in education costs. And, yes. A national commitment to insure that all students have access to internet and a laptop?
Will democracy be given an opportunity to march, or perhaps, “zoom” into public meetings encouraging access by a whole new generation of Americans, who will likely never attend a meeting of the 'town council,' held in a dingy meeting room or courthouse?
Will “tele-health” be permitted, where it can be done so safely; to be expanded and actually reduce the cost of providing health services?
Unlike those who became overnight Louis Pasteur's; I do not know the answer to those questions.
In any event, the questions would perhaps be outside the scope of a first post on a “law related” blog.
So, the question perhaps more properly posed here, should be whether the COVID-19 experience will have a lasting effect on the practice of law.
Truthfully, I don't know the answer to that question either.
But here is one vote for such change.
Federal courts have utilized electronic filing exclusively for years; state courts have likewise moved in that direction more recently. Technology has been used for such things as video appearances from a jail, video has been used in depositions for some time, but the conducting of business in a virtual setting is, for most, a COVID-19 first occurrence.
And, all in all, I don't think it has been a bad one.
But change is not without sadness. Like the failure of brick and mortar bookstores; the apple taken to the school teacher, or in my case, my first jury trial in the historic upstairs courtroom at the old Bourbon County Courthouse. And those things will hopefully never completely disappear.
Among the other things of which I know little, is the construction of video-conferencing software platforms.
But, what if those platforms could be perfected. And designed specifically for court systems with all their particularities, legal and otherwise.
Will there be a day in the not so distant future when some young kid will ask? “You mean you used to actually go to court in that building?”