COVID-19 Resources for Lawyers

Video jury trials here to stay? | Rituals and transitions | RFID chipping employees | Newsletters the new blogs?

Over the past year, there’s been much discussion, debate, and suspicion about holding the most sacrosanct court proceedings via video.

A growing consensus is that the pandemic caused the judicial branch to advance technologically for the better. And there’s little debate that many of the emergency and stopgap measures put in place during shutdowns will continue, at least in some form.

But when it comes to jury trials, concerns remain over fairness, due process, and justice.

Two recent episodes dig deeper into the experiences of judges directly involved in jury and non-jury trials at the state and federal level over the past year. 

On Litigation Radio, host Dave Scriven-Young interviews U.S. District Judges Marsha J. Pechman and Thomas Samuel Zilly about their Western District of Washington experiences. They discuss lessons learned, tips for evidence presentation, and, importantly for litigators, how to read a jury.

Covering the state courts, State Bar of Texas podcast host Rocky Dhir speaks with Judge Emily Miskel about the shift from bench trials to jury trials. 

Miskel debunks many myths about in-person v. remote appearances. She also discusses the many ways jurors and trial lawyers say they are better able to follow along with the evidence, judge expressions, and other advantages to participating in proceedings via video conference.

Rituals and their role in work/life 

Making the transition from on and off the clock or the reverse is particularly tricky when folks work from home. 

On the Lawyerist Podcast, host Laura Briggs interviews workplace strategist Erica Keswin about the rituals people use to create a physical or symbolic separation from work and home life.

Whether that’s lighting a candle to signify the end of the day or some other routine, Keswin says a regular ritual can be transformative.

Would you let your employer implant a tracking chip in your finger? 

Has technology advanced so much that it’s time for states to take pre-emptive measures to protect workers from forced implantation of tracking devices? 

Indianapolis employment lawyer Craig Wiley, of Jackson Lewis, was skeptical when he first researched Indiana’s recent legislation on the topic. But he tells Legal Talk Today host Laurence Colletti that he learned quickly that legislation and guidance for employers and employees are needed. 

The issue, Wiley says, is mainly bipartisan, favoring treading carefully when subjecting employees to devices that would track or monitor their movements. Wiley and Colletti discuss current legislation and why some employers and employees are interested in using implanted technologies.

Law reviews, blogging, and the state of legal publishing

Jumping off a law blog discussion about whether legal analysis and scholarship should be freely available, Kennedy-Mighell Report hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss legal publishing.

Are blogs the best place for legal commentary? Is there a place for the traditional law review? What about newsletters and Discord?

Kennedy and Mighell discuss the purpose of law reviews, audience, and the broader landscape, including newsletters that encompass legal publishing and may be replacing blogs. 

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To keep up with timely insights on the law, legal innovation, and law practice, visit Legal Talk Network. Or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Thumbnail and social image by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash.

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Molly McDonough, a longtime legal affairs journalist, is a producer for the current events show "Legal Talk Today." She also is a media and content strategist with McDonough Media LLC. McDonough previously served as editor and publisher of the ABA’s flagship magazine, the "ABA Journal." She writes about access to justice at "A Just Society."