Haute Lawyer Experts Observe Potential Lasting Effects Of COVID-19 On Practice Of Law

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Haute Lawyer recently asked law experts to describe changes they’ve noticed within their practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Matt Dolman, Robert Elias and Glenn Udell took the time to give their take on how this global pandemic has changed the law landscape.

Haute Lawyer: How has the COVID pandemic changed the practice of law? Are these changes permanent?

Matt Dolman (Personal Injury Law, Miami & St. Petersburg): From the perspective of a managing partner at a personal injury law firm with an active litigation practice, COVID-19 has played an interesting and somewhat dramatic change in the practice of law. Since March of 2020, we have been handling depositions and mediations remotely via Zoom. It creates a different dynamic. Shockingly, it has resulted in a less adversarial environment. Some of the emotions shown during in-person depositions and mediations do not translate to a remote venue.

On the flip side, COVID has greatly altered our practice due to the lack of trials. Trials were postponed indefinitely until the final quarter of 2020. Since then, we are seeing courthouses which formerly had up to six trials running concurrently, now limited to a single trial with the lawyers and witnesses wearing masks. The threat of trial is oftentimes what forces the insurance carrier to make a fair settlement offer. Without having a date for trial, many cases have been indefinitely delayed.


Robert Elias (Real Estate Law, South Florida): Pre-Covid, The Elias Law Firm, PLLC had gradually moved to a paperless (to the extent practical) and technology-driven model which allowed those working remotely to seamlessly serve our clients. That said, we value the collegiality of working in the office and believe collaboration is much better in person. At this point, everyone is back full time in the office though we are now confident that when remote work is necessary, it can be done efficiently and effectively with no impact on our clientele.

The lawyers at The Elias Law Firm, PLLC predominantly practice in the areas of real estate (commercial and residential), corporate, and estate planning/probate, so we are largely unaffected by changes to the court system. Online document-signing programs and remote online notarization services are much more prevalent than pre-Covid and I expect these programs to substantially increase post-Covid. That said, many clients still prefer to sign transactional or closing documents in person, as it provides a better forum to discuss ancillary matters.

Substantively, there are new detailed contractual provisions finding their way into real estate and other contracts or agreements of all sorts that are a byproduct of Covid. These provisions, more tailored than traditional boilerplate “force majeure” clauses, have the effect of excusing and/or delaying contractual non-performance if the non-performance is a direct or indirect result of Covid and similar post-Covid pandemic. I expect such provisions to become standard boilerplate as we move forward.

The South Florida business community is a “full go” post-Covid.  Our firm maintains the finest clientele and continues to be a beneficiary of the strong Florida real estate market, the vibrant corporate activity, and the renewed sense of the importance of having appropriate estate planning/asset protection in place. The “post-Covid” future is fortunately bright for Florida.


Glenn Udell (Real Estate Law, Chicago): The COVID-19 pandemic forced courts and litigation lawyers to immediately adapt to working with the court system remotely. The effects of having remote access to courts and judges has a positive impact on the overall system. Lawyers no longer need to travel and attend routing court matters in person. In the long run, this creates a far more efficient and cost-effective system for everyone. Less staff is needed at the actual court facilities to screen and monitor lawyers, and ‘pro se’ litigants entering the buildings. Less staff is required in the court rooms as hearings are being conducted remotely. Lawyers therefore spend less time in actually attending court for their clients which ultimately makes litigation somewhat less expensive for the client.

It is hard to imagine these efficiencies being removed from the system as this has worked so well for all involved. This frees up more time for everyone to work on other matters or to have more free time in their personal life. As such, I see these changes as permanent. Another issue, however, is live testimony. When examining a witness remotely, there is no way to actually know if that witness is being coached or using another computer device to assist with their testimony. As such, I think live testimony from a witness is something I think will have to remain live in order to preserve the integrity of witness testimony.


To learn more about Matt Dolman and Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, CLICK HERE.

If you wish to obtain more information regarding Robert Elias and The Elias Law Firm, PLLC, CLICK HERE.

For more information regarding Glenn Udell and Brown Udell Pomerantz Delrahim, LTD., CLICK HERE.