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Difficulties Lawyers Face During the Pandemic, According to Attorney Samir Hadeed
Virtually all industries have faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and the law industry is no exception. From court closures and delays to new workplace procedures, the current situation is creating unique challenges for attorneys across the U.S.
Attorney Samir Hadeed is a personal injury and criminal lawyer located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Samir began his practice after completing his formal education at Duquesne University and Case Western Reserve University. He partners with peers and clients to meet unprecedented difficulties resulting from the current COVID-19 pandemic. The global tragedy has placed an unusually harsh burden on both clients and lawyer.
Why is the Pandemic Hard on Attorneys?
Crime and justice don’t stop for pandemics. The current COVID-19 crisis forces legal personnel to become more fluid, making it challenging for attorneys to manage their caseloads, says Attorney Samir Hadeed.
In situations where offices must close to protect employees, client/attorney appointments are delayed until they can be rescheduled as phone or video calls. Remote legal services increase challenges related to attorney-client privilege.
When law office staff must take their work home, everyone is taking additional steps to protect sensitive information pertaining to client and case information. While some law offices have transitioned smoothly, others are seriously delayed in their casework and are having to reconsider their operations.
It has also become very difficult to communicate with clients for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is due to the additional restrictions in jails to protect the jail workers as well as the inmates.
As attorneys and their law firms manage these logistical challenges, there is a dramatic increase in client inquiries. Law office employees are working overtime to stay on top of COVID-19 developments and serve new clients simultaneously.
How is COVID-19 Limiting/Delaying the Legal Process?
Nearly every imaginable legal matter is either on hold or requiring attorneys and their clients to adjust the way they submit requests and claims, says Attorney Samir Hadeed. For example, criminal defense and parole hearings with scheduled in-person appointments are further delayed. Meanwhile, local courts are digitally transforming in an effort to support virtual due process.
The pandemic has also delayed communication timelines for case processing. Legal process delays leave defendants wondering what will become of their sentences while victims become more anxious in their longings for justice.
Most districts are optimistic that virtual services will soon address the legal backlog. The silver lining of this crisis is that both law offices and court systems are learning to boost productivity and efficiency like never before. However, the transition process is likely to get worse before it gets better.
How are Attorneys Involved in Workplace Safety (Managing Employer and Employee Inquiries)
Some law firms have created pandemic response teams across multiple practices to address the workforce safety inquiries flooding their offices. These workplace safety questions come from employers trying to understand what their responsibilities and limitations are when employees exhibit symptoms or have been exposed to the virus.
Attorneys and their law firms are helping organizations build safe and responsible pandemic response plans. These action plans are based on recommendations from the CDC and include policies and procedures pertaining to cleaning, remote work standards, and efficient communications processes.
Any excuse to update employer policies and procedures is also an opportunity to perform exhaustive policy audits. For example, Attorney Samir Hadeed and his peers are strongly encouraging employers to update their plans and procedures to be compliant with other workforce laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes