Talk Justice, an LSC Podcast, Episode 5: “How the Pandemic is Transforming the Courts and the Legal Industry

October 16, 2020
WASHINGTON – Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and ABA President Patricia Lee Refo joined Legal Services Corporation (LSC) President Ron Flagg on the latest episode of “Talk Justice, an LSC Podcast,” released today. The 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 many 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," predicts Chief Justice McCormack. "We've seen too many of the benefits to transparency, to efficiency and to accessibility.”
 

Chief Justice Hecht says 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 says. “We want it to be efficient, available, accessible, but we also want it to be respected and revered and loved.”
 
ABA President Refo believes it will be vital to test metrics around these innovations. This is a unique moment, she explains, 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 says. “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 on LSC's website and on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and other popular podcast platforms. The podcast is sponsored by LSC’s Leaders Council.
 
Future episodes of Talk Justice will explore the challenges of delivering legal services in rural areas and legal aid’s importance to American business.

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