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Lawyering during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Although I lived through the 1987 stock market crash and the bursting of the dotcom bubble, those events occured prior to becoming a lawyer. I did, however, live and work through the 2008 mortgage crisis and am now feeling my way through the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented serious obstacles and changes. The first ten (10) days following the shut-in order were a bit scary being that the phone stopped ringing. After that time period, my practice functioned normally other than not have hearings in-person and not meeting with clients. The following are some examples of things I have worked on directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • I represented a union in protracted negotiations relating to modifications to the collective bargaining agreement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • I represented multiple clients in the sports industry who have been approached about buying out the terms of sponsorship agreements and conducted negotiations and drafted the buyout agreements.

  • I represented a couple in a dispute with a wedding venue about the changes in the date of their wedding that ultimately led to a refund and payment of insurance proceeds.

  • I drafted a waiver for a wedding photographer that waived all claims and indemnified the wedding photographer for COVID-19 related illnesses and injuries.

  • I drafted policies and procedures related to COVID-19 for employers.

  • I drafted medical testing agreements to test for COVID-19 on behalf of a laboratory that has conducted testing for universities, restaurants, medical offices, and plants and facilities.

  • I represented a commercial landlord in a dispute with a restaurant tenant who attempted to exercise the force majeure clause to terminate the lease agreement.

  • I served as an arbitrator in eight (8) disputes that went to final hearing during the COVID-19 pandemic that were all conducted via Zoom with live testimony. This is not a substantial modification from my general arbitration practice. I have held more than thirty (30) final hearings via Zoom.

  • I have served as a mediator in three (3) disputes that were conducted via Zoom and attended a handful of mediations as an advocate. Although in-person connections are better, Zoom (or similar platforms) work well to negotiate disputes and ultimately resolve them.

These are just a few examples of how the COVID-19 pandemic has modified or changed the legal practice. We are all still learning and growing. I wonder if this is the new normal or will things return to status quo.

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