Fellow Trial Lawyers and Friends,
The year 2020 has been, and continues to be, one for the record books. The last nine months have proven incredibly challenging for our clients, our members, and our practices. Despite ITLA’s exploration of a “way out” and a return to jury trials, the deadly impact of the Coronavirus has thwarted our efforts at every turn. We are not alone in this regard. While there have been sporadic jury trials here and there across the country with masks, shields and various forms of PPE, no major metropolitan area like Cook County and similar counties in the state and country, has been able to resume its trial schedule to pre-pandemic levels. Like Cook, most have had no trials at all – criminal or civil. As impactful on our practices as this standstill has been, if we take a step back and put it into context, the inability to return to jury trials thus far, as hard as it is to say, is the right call. The nature of the Coronavirus and the impact of a premature and unprepared return to the courtroom literally can be a matter of life and death. Sadly, you cannot help but question how we got here and whether it was avoidable. Let’s reflect on this year and see. [read more]
Fellow Trial Lawyers and Friends,
The year 2020 continues to be a year like no other. The Covid-19 pandemic has altered the way we conduct virtually every aspect of our daily lives. And . . . the end is not in sight.
In densely populated communities like Cook County, jury trials – the centerpiece of what we do as trial lawyers – have come to a halt, delaying justice for our clients. That justice delayed feels like justice denied. Yet, while we are anxious to get back to trying cases and seeking justice for our clients, we must not forget that Covid-19 has killed over 220,000 Americans. A premature and ill-prepared return to the courthouses could lead to more illness and death. The return to courthouses must be done carefully with an eye toward protecting the health and well-being of all who are a part of the system. [read more]
The year 2020 is shaping up to be one for the history books. Never in a million years could we have ever contemplated facing a time when our courthouses, our cases and much of our lives as we knew them, would come to a screeching halt. Who among us would have ever thought an international health crisis, a pandemic, would sweep the world. That a real life “Contagion,” as depicted in the 2011 film of the same name, would sicken the world, and our country would be so ill prepared that our citizens would need to shelter-in-place to “flatten” the curve and slow the spread of the disease. As if that were not enough, we were hit with a second whammy: the incredibly inhumane and unjust death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police officers in Minnesota. This injustice was not new, but the in-humaneness of one of the officers kneeling on a handcuffed and prone Mr. Floyd’s neck while the officer’s hands were casually in his own pockets as Mr. Floyd’s life left his body. He looked completely comfortable and unconcerned that he was being recorded. His actions shocked the conscience of the world. And, in response, people in all 50 states and across the world, protested, marched and the powers-that-be committed to change. Not since the civil rights marches of the Dr. King era had we seen such a united call for justice. [read more]