By: Jordan Strokovsky
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the State Civil Litigation Section more important than ever.
Since our March Town Hall meeting, which drew almost 60 attendees- including several members of the judiciary and key court staff- we’ve seen many attorneys come forward as volunteers to handle discovery matters and serve as JPTs for settlement conferences.
Meanwhile, our members have sent scores of emails noting their concerns in the face of the judicial emergency, and we’ve passed those on to the Court with particular emphasis on the two most pressing matters: discovery issues and extraordinary relief. That’s led to several meetings with the Court as well as with leaders of both of the Plaintiffs’ and Defense Bars. Our collaboration has helped the Court develop protocols for both pending discovery motions and future motions. Similarly, there is now a protocol to extend deadlines if all parties agree.
In the face of the current circumstances, the State Civil Litigation Section has become an invaluable connection between attorneys, judges, and court staff. Attendance at our town hall leapt to 90 in May, and we plan to continue holding biweekly meetings to keep the dialogue going. In these unprecedented circumstances, these town halls provide not only professional benefits, but also a sense of community. Most importantly, they allow us to have productive discussions about how we’re going to move forward.
With trials postponed until September, the Court is in a prime position to build the protocols we’ll need to conduct trials when they resume, incorporating the health and justice concerns of everyone involved in the process. Technology and ingenuity will be key, and there are many questions in need of answers.
Now is the time for our members to step forward and get involved, either in a general sense or specifically with one of our four subcommittees: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Compulsory Arbitration, Medical-Legal, and Rules and Procedure. We need active and engaged participants who recognize not only the need to assist the Court in getting through this emergency, but also the opportunity to make a lasting impact. This rare pause in the legal process offers us an invaluable chance to rethink and modernize our protocols so that the system runs as smoothly as possible not only this fall, but for years to come.
With all hands on deck, your ideas and questions are welcome. As guardians of the court, we have a duty to ensure that the legal system remains fully operational, serving as a source of stability and reliability in these uncertain times. With your help, our Court can come out of this crisis stronger, smarter, and better prepared than ever.
Jordan Strokovsky (firstname.lastname@example.org)- co-chair of State Civil Litigation Section- is a trial lawyer and founder of Strokovsky LLC, where he handles catastrophic injury, medical, malpractice, premises liability, wrongful death, and trucking cases.