The COVID-19 is changing the way we all live and work. That includes the practice of criminal law. More working from home, less working at the office. More digital payments, less cash. For most criminal trial lawyers, there is a pause on most courtroom appearances (but they are certain to resume in the future). So what should criminal lawyers be doing to adapt? First, be prepared for more status and pretrial conferences by video (this means ditch that old, faded Ohio State sweatshirt from college, and get some decent business casual wear!), Second, be ready to do more phone or video conferences with clients in jail, instead of in-person visits. Next, be open to meeting clients by video or phone conferences (we are currently giving clients the option of meeting by Zoom, Skype or Facetime). Some clients like this option, others don’t – so read the individual client. Fourth, familiarize yourself with sending electronic documents that require a signature by DocuSign or an equivalent service (this can even be set up on your cell phone). I view some of these changes as making things more convenient for the client. But we cannot lose sight of the fact that criminal law involves real people with real cases, who need help. Those cases are fought and won in real courtrooms by real lawyers. Let’s hope that never changes!
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