The effects of COVID-19 and changes arising from these effects has been gradually becoming a part of our lives. What awaits lawyers and the world of the law after COVID-19 starts to fade away?

The effects of COVID-19, which has been a scourge on our lives for four months now, with changes required to protect ourselves from these effects gradually becoming a part of our lives.

As time passes, COVID-19 will likely become something of a memory Before it does, we want to scrutinize its lasting effects on the legal system and legal institutions.

What awaits lawyers and the world of the law after COVID-19 starts to fade away?

We all know have been efforts to digitalize many aspect to the legal section in our country, which have been going on for years, if in fits and starts.

In the post-Covid-19 period, these digitalization efforts will accelerate, while being more directed and with much better follow through.  We expect a lot of progress, and in a relatively short time.

For instance;

We have seen most law firms, while continuing to serve their clients when they need them, have been providing these services, in the interest of the health of their employees, remotely, i.e., from their attorneys’ home.

During this period, law firms have connected with their clients, in liew of face-to-face meetings, using a variety of digital tools (e-bulletin, webinar, online meetings, etc.).

We believe a profound take away from this experience is the recognition, by both law firms and their clients, about the marked increased speed and productivity these tools provide, eliminating some of the resistance we have seen in the pastto working from home.

Similarly, the generally positive experience of working remotely so many have had in the past few months, where among others things we have experienced many businesses continue to work productively without constant travel, or in-person meetings, or even the need for everyone to be in the office at same time.

Law offices that were able adapt quickly to remote work during this period for the most part already had the necessary technology and related infrastructure.

For example, having documents stored on digital platforms, and ensuring employees easy, access these platforms outside the office has played a big role in the successful implementation of remote work during COVID-19 epidemic.

In the years to come, it is expected law offices, who had not invested in such digital platforms will do so,  and law offices who already had such digital platforms will increase their investment upgrading both them and the other infrastructure needed to support remote work.

Perhaps just are profund,  is it the lesson learned regarding the ease, and decreased expense, of online meetings, calling into question the need for the amount of physical office space that is currently being used.

We are looking forward to seeing in the upcoming days, weeks and years the continuing and, incdeed, the acceleration of the digitalization of law offices .

The interactions relations between lawyer and client are not the only ones that have been, and will be impacted, by COVID-19. In addition, and just as important, is its impact on the lawyer’s interactions with with institutions such as courts, enforcement offices, registries and other depositories of important legal documents, etc., and to see it is inevitable these institutions with take serious steps towards increased digitalization.

It is also known that the Ministry of Justice has included on the agenda the issue of allowing for e-hearings rather than requiring in-person appearances before the courts, which was also being discussed before the COVID-19 epidemic, but with much less urgency. The International Chamber of Commerce, which provides one of the most important forums for international arbitral prceedings, has increase the use of e-hearings through online platforms, and sometimes requires such, a change we have experienced first-hand.

Another example, is that for the first time anywhere in the world, a jury trial was held several weeks ago using Zoom a Texas state court. Moevoer, , the American National Center for State Courts announced virtual courts will be establish in 39 of America’s 50 states.   Courts in South Korea and Germany are following in its footsteps and making arrangements for e-hearings.

We think it is inevitable that e-courts will be entering our lives, sooner or later, and the participation of lawyers in judicial proceedings by virtual platforms will become widespread in the near future.

Consider that presently, , to be physically present at a court appearance that may last ten minutes, , your typical lawyer first must leave his or her home or office, travel to to the court, where he or she usually has wait for a period of time ahead of the appearance, and then must return home, or to the office afterwards.

Add to the massive savings in time and expense noted just above, increased ofsecurity , and a reduction the amount of time the average lawsuit will last, form beginning to end. 

Consider that only two of the 28 jury members, who made up the just pool from which the final just was chosen, were unable to figure out how to use Zoom program, and it is clear the downside of using these digital tools is insignifiant.

As a conclusion, it is clear the now months-long COVID-19 epidemic has upturned our lives in many, and likely permanent, ways, and has changed, in some ways for the better,  the direction our lives, in particularly our working lives.

While the World is adapting to the many challenges posed by COVID-19,  it is possible to say the conservative world of the law, and the lawyer’s profession, will be undergoing drastic change.

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