August 06 2020
The College’s Task Force on Advocacy in the 21st Century, chaired by Regent John Day has released two more “interim guidance” papers relating to the administration of justice during the pandemic: Issues to be Considered When Preparing for and Conducting a Civil Jury Trial During the Pandemic and Constitutional Protections Implicated by the Reopening of Criminal Courts in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. As has been reported earlier, the Task Force has also produced five other documents to assist the Bench and Bar during this period: Conducting Appellate Arguments by Use of Remote Video; Conducting Nonjury Trials by Use of Remote Video; Conducting Remote Hearings by Use of Remote Video; Mastering Zoom Advocacy; Remote Video Depositions and Examinations for Discovery.
Each document is labeled an “interim guideline.” The Task Force will continue to gather resources and experiences from around our colleagues in both Canada and the United States and these works will be modified, as appropriate over time, in light of experience.
In addition to reviewing these papers, please also share them with members of your firms and lawyers and members of the judiciary in your community and in your State or Province. Should you have recommendations for improvements to these guidelines, including those based upon experiences in your courts, the Task Force will be grateful to have them. Interested parties may be directed to actl.com/advocacy to easily locate the materials.
The work of the Task Force is one of the important efforts the College has launched in 2020, largely in response to the pandemic but also in recognition that the ways in which advocacy is conducted in our courts in coming years will be affected in myriad ways as new technologies and ways of interacting evolve. The College has the expertise to offer particularly useful recommendations with regard to these developments, and your observations will be important additions to the dialogue. Thank you for your help.