I was asked to give a speech via Zoom for a legal panel about a year ago (February 2021) on how best to present your case in this brave new world of Zoom proceedings. There were over 200 attorneys present via Zoom and I was tasked with presenting information on the effects of the pandemic on litigation, how we can deal with them, and what the future might hold.
At that point, the pandemic numbers were starting to drop and were getting better weekly.
The overall feeling at the time was one of cautious optimism...
I, and the rest of the panel, were hopeful that the worst of the pandemic was behind us, and that life might be returning to "normal" in the legal setting and elsewhere. The title of the symposium was even called "Litigating in a Post-Pandemic World"!
Courtroom appearances were starting to be scheduled again, and Zoom was starting to be used less and less as overall optimism increased in mid 2021.
When I gave this speech, I was keen to mention how "Hybrid Trials" were going to become the new normal, even if we made a full return to the courtrooms. I was hopeful by what I had seen from the legal industry and how well everybody adapted to Zoom, but I was still worried about COVID.
Now, as we head into 2022 with the Omicron variant and COVID numbers increasing at alarming rates, the Courts have once again postponed in-person appearances and are reverting back to Zoom trials, hearings and mediations.
If you would have told me a year ago while giving this speech that we would be in a WORSE position in the pandemic...I likely would have cast doubt on that notion due to the vaccine rollout and decreasing numbers heading into Spring 2021.
But here we are over a year later and the pandemic is back stronger than before.
It's a good thing the legal industry is much more prepared now and we look forward to assisting all legal teams in the Zoom and/or Hybrid proceedings.
If any in-person proceedings get delayed or reverted to virtual settings - we at Prevail are readily available to help and offer our extensive experience providing litigation support in these settings.