Podcast focuses on 'How the Pandemic is Transforming the Courts and the Legal Industry'

Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, ABA President Patricia Lee Refo and Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht have joined Legal Services Corporation (LSC) President Ron Flagg on the latest episode of “Talk Justice, an LSC Podcast.

The just-released episode focuses on how the COVID-19 pandemic is transforming the courts and the practice of law.

Many innovations are being used to respond to the pandemic, including remote hearings, virtual mediation and arbitration and virtual jury trials.

The panelists discuss the challenges COVID-19 poses to the justice system and to low-income Americans, particularly in the area of housing. But they also note that many of the changes to how courts and attorneys operate may be lasting ones with positive implications for access to justice.

“The new normal will not be the old normal,” McCormack said. “We’ve seen too many of the benefits to transparency, to efficiency and to accessibility.”

Hecht said the legal community will need to consider a number of factors when determining which aspects of the justice system can remain virtual in the future.

“We don’t want to lose the majesty of the law,” he said. “We want it to be efficient, available, accessible, but we also want it to be respected and revered and loved.”

Refo believes it will be vital to test metrics around these innovations. This is a unique moment, she said, as jurisdictions adopt different approaches to addressing the challenges the pandemic is posing to traditional in-person bar exams, trials and other aspects of the practice of law.

“We have a natural experiment happening literally in front of our eyes on a national basis,” she said. “So, as we as we go forward with all these innovations, we have got to be careful to make sure we're measuring the metrics as well.”

Talk Justice episodes are available at www.lsc.gov/media-center/talk-justice-LSC-podcast and on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and other podcast platforms. The podcast is sponsored by LSC’s Leaders Council.


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