The opinion piece “Courts, Legal Pros Responding Heroically to Legal Pandemic” authored by Judge Gail Prudenti for Long Island Business News on May 7, 2020, discusses the response of the legal community to a host of legal issues that have surfaced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I marvel at the response of the bar and legal aid organizations, that have more than stepped up to the plate, even while managing their own professional and personal stresses. Law firms, like other businesses, are struggling right now. Trials that may have yielded a significant payday are delayed indefinitely. New business has slowed dramatically. Firms’ ability to work on existing cases, and meet their payrolls, is severely compromised. And I have no doubt that solo practices and small firms, which often function on the margin, are in dire straits. Our graduating students at Hofstra Law are in double-edged limbo: the bar exam is delayed, obviously affecting their ability to obtain a law license; and the job market is grim. Lawyers, law students and their families are as susceptible to the virus as anyone else; among the casualties, I just read, is the former president of the New York State Bar Association.
Yet, just look at what the legal profession has done, much of it pro bono, in the past month or so. The New York State Bar Association, in partnership with the courts has established a COVID-19 Recovery Task Force to oversee a pro bono network of attorneys who will be assisting New Yorkers suffering from the pandemic. Lawyers are conducting virtual consultations. Attorneys whose own businesses are struggling are providing their services for free or at cut-rates to ensure that their neighbors’ legal needs are addressed. Hofstra Law students are continuing to assist clients virtually, under the virtual supervision of attorneys.
Read the full article on the Long Island Business News website.