The Daily Journal | California Lawyer

Best Practices for Remote Advocacy During the Pandemic

January 15, 2021

By Daniel B. Garrie & Hon. Gail Andler

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the legal world. Legal proceedings have traditionally been in-person activities, with counsel, parties, witnesses, and the judge, arbitrator or mediator all physically present. However, the pandemic has caused a rapid turn to technology as many proceedings and functions that would typically be deemed in-person activities have transitioned to being remote. As attorneys, especially litigation attorneys, make the transition to remote trials and hearings, it is vital to be aware of some best practices associated with the relatively new concept of remote advocacy.

First, and perhaps the most important rule, is to understand the technology and platforms used for the proceedings. Therefore, it is crucial to test all technology in advance. This includes, but is not limited to, testing all devices that will be used to join the meeting, ensuring that backgrounds are appropriate for a hearing, testing the capacity of the internet bandwidth, and confirming that the programs to be used during the proceeding are up to date, to prevent any delays. Additionally, it is crucial to establish and test a backup protocol in case there are any unexpected technical difficulties on the day of the proceeding. Having a list of contact numbers for the court, opposing counsel and witnesses, for example, would be helpful if participants suddenly encounter an internet connection issue preventing them from joining the proceeding. Lawyers have long been familiar with the concept of “belt and suspenders.” Employing redundancy related to accessible backup technology in the event of a hardware or software issue will increase your team’s confidence level and can save valuable time and money. This may be as simple as having your laptop on standby if there is a problem with your desktop or having an iPad available if there is a problem with your laptop in the event of an emergency.

To read the full article, go to JAMS. 

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