As law students worry about what the coronavirus pandemic will mean for their careers, some lawyers say those concerns should be eased by a Tuesday ABA resolution urging states to adopt emergency rules authorizing supervised limited practice for recent graduates, along with a bar pass requirement of no later than December 2021.
On April 3, personal injury lawyer Jim Mullen departed from his wife and toddler for a three-week assignment as a temporary nurse at a Level 1 trauma center in New York City. He completed his first shift—7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.—this past Sunday morning. He spoke to the ABA Journal shortly afterward and answered 10 questions.
While law students advocate for diploma privilege, and a growing number of deans are asking state supreme courts to consider supervised practice for 2020 graduates, the National Conference of Bar Examiners plans to proceed with administering the bar exam.
“Releasing a few people at a time, after litigating pretrial release conditions, is frankly too slow. It’s important work but not nearly enough. Once the coronavirus enters a detention center, it’s too late; it will spread like wildfire,” says Aaron Littman, a clinical teaching fellow at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law.
Doctors and nurses across the country are asking about legal remedies they may have because of exposure to COVID-19 and a lack of personal protective equipment, or PPE. Invariably, their main concern is the dangers to which they’re being exposed.
The designation of COVID-19 as a pandemic has affected tens of thousands of business and consumer contracts. Lawyers were suddenly swamped with questions about contractual provisions for delays or cancellations, and they found themselves immersed in force majeure provisions, common law doctrine and specifics on business interruption tucked away in insurance agreements.
As COVID-19 spreads rapidly across the United States, it carries with it accounts of discrimination and xenophobia that several lawyers say they haven’t seen since the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Proponents of bail bond reform argue that bond retention statutes are unconstitutional, unfairly place the cost of criminal justice on the backs of defendants before they have been convicted of any crime, and result in innocent people pleading guilty, many of them indigent.
Advocates for legal regulatory reform say they are dismayed by the State Bar of California’s recent decision to postpone action on a proposed regulatory sandbox, but they have not given up the fight to convince the bar’s board of trustees to support further exploring the concept.
If someone you don’t know—and have no connection to—contacts you to file a lawsuit, proceed with caution. It could be one of many scams that are easier to pull off than ever before, thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic.