When Covid 19 hit the world, every sector of work was affected. The legal profession was no different. To avoid in person contact, courtrooms and law firms were forced to shut down, causing lawyers, like Diego Ruiz Duran, to have to adapt their profession.
Communication and Confidentiality
As it became clear that the virus would not disappear anytime soon, it became necessary for lawyers and others throughout the legal profession to adapt to continue to meet the needs of their clients. In order to keep clients informed about developments in their representation, deadlines, and decisions, lawyers were required to rely more heavily on digital technology. This created new challenges for lawyers, because of the nature of the material being transferred. Communication, documents, and other information between a client and their lawyer are confidential. Lawyers like Diego Ruiz Duran were required to put measures in place to ensure the confidential information could remain confidential while being transferred, and would not be accessed by any third party.
Some courtrooms chose to limit in person contact by conducting trials, hearings, and sentencing via video conferencing. While video conferencing has been used in some professions as an easy alternative to in person meetings, video conferencing brought up unique issues for the law profession. Lawyer’s were required to change the strategies that have been used in the legal profession for decades. No longer could lawyers move about the courtroom to interact with their jury, use their presence and voice to make a point, or ask witnesses to act out relevant scenes pertinent to their trial. But aside from the traditional tips used to convey their evidence and case to persuade a jury or judge, video conferencing may have more serious implications on clients rights. Lawyers are required to object on behalf of their client to statements or strategies that may not be legal, often requiring interruptions to witnesses or the opposing parties. Video conferencing, however, typically only allows for one person to be speaking at a time. An attempt by a second person to interrupt is either overridden by the first person speaking, or causes a lapse in audio entirely. This prevents the transcription writers from being able to accurately take down court minutes, and prevents objections for clients from properly being made. These and many other digital issues will have to be dealt with as the legal community continues to rely on digital aid as a result of the pandemic.
Not All Negative
In some cases, however, the pandemic may create lower-cost options for clients as lawyers adapt to more efficient digital legal solutions for their clients. In addition, the pandemic has created an even greater need for lawyers in many areas of law as Covid-19 creates unprecedented issues for which there is no clear recourse to mitigate the problem. These new issues will require lawyers to help settle these problems, and create new regulations for the future.