President Dori Foster-Morales hosted a statewide town hall meeting, “Florida Bar Town Hall: COVID-19 Court Operations and Recovery,” on March 30 providing Florida lawyers with court operations updates and plans and a status report on the legal profession.
- OSCA has created a directory of Civil Case Management administrative orders filed by chief judges in judicial circuits in response to Chief Justice Canady’s amended administrative order. Civil practitioners are strongly urged to read the section and familiarize themselves with the new case management requirements that will be forthcoming.
- On May 6, the Florida Supreme Court amended orders issued during the pandemic to end restrictions to enter and move through public parts of courthouses throughout the state. The amended orders keep in place mask and distancing requirements during in-person courtroom proceedings only. Read the release and orders here.
- The Florida Bar Board Technology Committee has produced a best practices guide for remote court proceedings. The guide includes recommended practices for everything from proper attire and lighting, to screen sharing and evidence submission.
- The YLD has created a Supervised Practice Program webpage where potential supervising attorneys can sign up and be found by bar applicants. The attorneys are listed by geographical area and practice area, so that bar applicants can contact them and participate in the new program. Read about the Supreme Court order creating the program here.
- The Labor and Employment Section recommends this Florida Department of Employment Opportunity resource for unemployment claims. There is also this page for employers.
- Florida Bar staff are monitoring and responding to email and voice mail and call centers are open, such as: LegalFuel, Membership Services, Ethics Hotline, Attorney Consumer Assistance, Lawyer Referral Service, CLE Reporting. Phone numbers and a general contact email for each can be found on the Bar’s “Contact Us” page. All Florida Bar offices remain closed to the public due to continued concerns about COVID-19.
- The Bar’s Ethics Hotline remains available from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This service is reserved for members of the bar in good standing. Take a look at the Aug. 26 article from the Ethics Department on client communications.
- Attorney volunteers are needed for Florida Free Legal Answers, the Bar’s online legal clinic that aids qualifying members of the public as they navigate the unforeseen legal impacts that arise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Florida Bar’s COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force has been working to identify and implement action items to help Florida Bar members. Here a summary of those items.
The Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization and Education will offer remote board certification exams this year for all 27 areas of law. The First cycle exams were held March 11-12 and the second cycle exams are set for May 13-14, with the option of an in-person examination in Tampa adhering to social distancing protocols. Read the Bar News for more details.
Visit the Board Certification page for more information. Please submit your application as soon as it is complete to assist staff in processing the applications. Certification specialists are working remotely and continue to monitor and reply to emails.
Free CLE from LegalFuel
LegalFuel, the practice resource center of The Florida Bar, has created a COVID-19 page with a collection of CLE for lawyers to help with the practice of law during the pandemic. Topics include remote work help, video conference tips, cybersecurity information, how to access business assistance programs and more. Visit LegalFuel.com to see the full listing.
Also, click “Free CLE” in the top menu on LegalFuel.com to get a list of all of their available free CLEs.
UPCOMING FREE CLE:
- Tech Tune Up: Solutions for High Performance Trust Accounting| May 6, 2021 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM
- “I’m Not a Cat”: How to Survive Your next Zoom Trial or Hearing| May 11, 2021 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM
- Clio – How Mental Health and Addiction Affect Competence in the Legal Profession: A Webinar with Brian Cuban| May 11, 2021 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM
- Clio – Privacy Compliance for Law Firms: Moving Beyond Confidentiality| June 15, 2021 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Coping with COVID Articles
Practicing with Professionalism During the Pandemic – Judge Rodolfo Ruiz II, United States District Court, Southern District
Health & Wellness
- Mental Health Tips For Working Remotely (Rocket Matter)
- National Resources for Coping with COVID-19
- Lawyer Well-Being Starter Kit: 10 Tools and Strategies for Legal Employers (Florida Bar Journal)
Remote Practice Management
- 6 Tips for Lawyers Working Remotely From Home (Rocket Matter)
- E-Sign & E-Security (Free) Work-from-Home Readiness Program to Help End-Users During Crisis (RPost)
- Five Legal Malpractice Danger Zones for Florida Lawyers During COVID-19 (Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Co.)
- Five tips to help you run your law practice from your laptop (Florida Bar Tech Tips)
- How to work from home as a lawyer (various resources from Clio)
- Risk Alert for Florida Lawyers on Cybersecurity (Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Co.)
- Best Practices on Remote Appearances and Remote Hearings (Florida Supreme Court)
- How to Zoom Securely (LegalFuel)
- How to Install a Virtual Background (Florida Bar News)
- Maintaining Legal Decorum in the ‘New Normal’ (Special Column by Eugene K. Pettis, Florida Bar News)
Mental Health and Wellness Resources
The Florida Bar mental health helpline (1-833-FL1-WELL) is a free and confidential service that connects members with professional counselors. There’s no cost for calls to the hotline and you may be referred for up to three free telehealth counseling sessions per year to help you develop strategies to overcome life’s challenges, balance priorities, and better handle both personal and professional pressures.
Tenga en cuenta: Este número es sólo para miembros del Colegio de Abogados de la Florida (The Florida Bar). No es servició de referencia para asesoría legal ni es donde se presenta una queja en contra de un abogado.
In addition to the following resources, visit the Bar’s Health & Wellness Center for more information.
The Florida Bar COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force has heard from members that child care and elder care as well as other domestic tasks have been a challenge for Florida attorneys during the pandemic. The Florida Bar Lawyers Helpline (1-833-FL1-WELL) is a free and confidential service that can also help with locating these services.
Here are some other resources that can help locate child care, housecleaning, elder care and other services in your area:
Opportunities for Lawyers
Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service – The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service helps drive new business for Florida attorneys without a local lawyer referral service. The Lawyer Referral service provides members with more than 70,000 referrals each year in more than 120 practice areas, generating an estimated $3.49 million in new business for members.
Florida Bar Career Center – Job seekers can post resumes, apply to jobs, and read valuable career resources. Employers can connect with legal professionals across the state who are ready for their next career opportunity.
Florida Bar News Classified Ads – an essential placement service for the Florida legal market.
Florida Bar Attorneys Exchange – service for Florida lawyers to market their services to each other.
Law Practice Advice or Mentoring Opportunities
Lawyers Advising Lawyers is a free service offered to all Florida Bar members who may need advice in a specific area of law, procedure or other legal issue. If you confront an issue in an area of law or procedure unfamiliar to you, the program provides quick access to an attorney adviser with the experience to help.
Legal Accelerator collects information in one place needed by new lawyers or lawyers learning about a new practice area. It also features more than 1,000 videos from lawyers and judges addressing specific substantive legal questions, ethics and professionalism matters, professional development, and health and wellness.
The YLD Affiliate Outreach Conference is a long-time YLD program that will be virtual this year on February 5-6. It brings affiliate members together to share ideas and mentor each other, White said, and share initiatives for which the YLD awards grant funding. This year’s virtual event will include specific talks on dealing with pandemic issues as well as recurring issues seen in the yearly affiliate conferences.
The Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee, unable to have its annual in-person conference this year, has set up a coaching/mentorship program aimed at helping leadership in local bars.
The YLD’s Find an Affiliate program helps young and new lawyers find a local bar young lawyers program near them.
More than a dozen Florida Bar Member Benefit providers offer free trials or initial services for Florida Bar members, including practice resources, legal forms and legal research. Take a look at the new Financial Services category for new benefits!
Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company (FLMIC) has published a online resource that examines the malpractice “danger zones” for Florida lawyers during the pandemic. “5 Legal Malpractice Danger Zones for FL Lawyers During COVID-19” addresses several practices that may be increasingly common during the pandemic but which may trigger red alerts from a risk management perspective.
Fastcase has launched Fastcase COVID-19 Resources page, including:
- Fastcase webinars for remote CLE credit
- COVID-19 searches on docket alarm and ongoing Docket Alarm webinars with real-time information on COVID-19 litigation as well as past recordings.
- A live feed of Law Street Media COVID-19 coverage
The Business Damage Assessment Survey remains a piece of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s efforts to gather the information needed to evaluate and access tools to help businesses potentially lessen the impacts of COVID-19 and help the economy recover.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity provides a comprehensive overview of the state and federal resources available to small businesses affected by COVID-19.
OSCA has created a directory of Civil Case Management administrative orders filed by chief judges in judicial circuits in response to Chief Justice Canady’s amended administrative order. Civil practitioners are strongly urged to read the section and familiarize themselves with the new case management requirements that will be forthcoming.
Here is a list of local informational sessions that are available online:
|Circuit 4: Jacksonville Bar Association||Circuit 8: MAY 21: Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association (details coming soon)|
|Circuit 15: Palm Beach Bar Association||Circuit 17: Broward County Bar Association|
|Circuit 20: Lee County Bar Association|
OSCA is tracking the status of the different counties in Florida. Visit their COVID page for the latest updates.
Five trial-court circuits across the state have been chosen to conduct a test of remote technology as a safer alternative to traditional in-person civil jury trials. Attorneys are encouraged to submit their relevant civil cases to the active pilot programs in the relevant circuits:
- Jacksonville’s Fourth Judicial Circuit comprising Clay, Duval, and Nassau counties. This circuit’s pilot program has concluded, read the report here.
- Daytona Beach’s Seventh Judicial Circuit comprising Flagler, St. Johns, Putnam, and Volusia Counties.
- Orlando’s Ninth Judicial Circuit comprising Orange and Osceola counties.
- Miami-Dade County’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit.
- Fort Myers’s Twentieth Judicial Circuit comprising Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee counties.
Florida Supreme Court
The Florida Supreme Court has established a COVID-19 emergency webpage to serve as a clearinghouse for statewide administrative court orders, advisories and memos. The page also includes links to Florida’s trial courts and District Courts of Appeal for information about local court operations and orders.
MOST RECENT FLORIDA SUPREME COURT ORDERS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
May 6: The Florida Supreme Court amended orders issued during the pandemic to end restrictions to enter and move through public parts of courthouses throughout the state. The amended orders keep in place mask and distancing requirements during in-person courtroom proceedings only. Read the release and orders here.
April 13: The Florida Supreme Court issued Amendment 12 to AOSC20-23 updating Section G on civil case management.
April 1: The Florida Supreme Court issued Amendment 2 to AOSC20-14 – Personal travel by court employees.
Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator
Clerks of Court
The Clerks of Court has created a web page with links to individual clerk’s offices, and frequently updated announcements and resources.
|District Courts of Appeal
May 12 Audio Webcast – Workers’ Compensation Section – COVID-19 Why no “Pandemic” of Litigation?
For previous Section CLE webinars that were recorded, visit LegalFuel.com.
Bar Groups and Resources
The American Bar Association Coronavirus Task Force webpage is intended as a national source of information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the delivery of legal services. It includes resources on remote service delivery, court access and rules changes, legal needs, public benefits programs, and pro bono mobilization.
American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA): https://www.abota.org/Online/Resources/Covid-19%20Resources/Online/Resources/COVID-19_Resources.aspx?hkey=d357b9b6-b809-4404-8c6b-4acdc6d358cf
The Florida Bar Foundation: https://thefloridabarfoundation.org/covid-19-and-legal-aid/
The Family Law Section has provided two videos on domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar is posting helpful information and guidance on COVID-19 pandemic-related topics.
Coronavirus Control & Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Please make sure you read the following information on the CDC’s website:
- CDC: does away with mask mandates under most circumstances for fully vaccinated persons
- CDC finds plausible connection between J&J vaccine and clotting cases
- CDC: Expect an increase in COVID cases as masks/distancing measures are reduced
- CDC Guidance on Summer Camps
- Updated CDC guidance on cleaning: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
- New guidance from the CDC for those who have been vaccinated
CDC guidance in 2020
Watch this helpful video from CBS News with a Vaccine FAQ from Dr. David Agus, a professor of medicine at University of Southern California.
- Concerns on millions of people missing their second vaccine doses
- Moderna has begun testing their vaccine for children.
- CDC study out March 29 shows Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be 90% effective in real life conditions. Link to article and study.
- Information on Florida’s vaccine distribution: https://states.aarp.org/florida/covid-19-vaccine-distribution.
- Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine (one dose needed) has been approved by the FDA became available in March. Here is an article on federal agencies putting that vaccine option on hold because of possible blood clotting issues.
- Moderna, Inc. announced its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective and provides details on it’s storage, possible usage and effectiveness.
- Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective, another study from Pfizer demonstrates that its vaccine appears to be effective against the new variant.
FDA: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for COVID-19 to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age.
CNN: The US Food and Drug Administration will consider within months emergency use authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine in children 2 to 11 years old — at a time polls show younger Americans are least likely to say they want a shot.
On May 13, Florida’s Department of Health announced 4,064 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 — the most in a week since May 8. The state also announced 50 new deaths. Of those, 47 were residents. Despite the uptick in cases, the state’s daily positivity remained under 5% and the two-week average in Miami-Dade County finally dropped below 5% as of Wednesday. Miami-Dade also topped 1 million people who are now considered fully vaccinated. The state has recorded a known total of 2,282,613 novel coronavirus cases and 36,648 deaths. Full Miami Herald article here.
Shareable resources on how to cope mentally with the challenges of COVID-19.
- New study shows vaccines safe to be safe in pregnancy
- Concerns about mixing vaccines: https://apple.news/A6rJGClRERZ2lIl2eOq2wnw
- ABA: More female lawyers suffered with drinking during COVID-19
- NY Times: A Coronavirus Variant First Found in India is Now Officially a ‘Variant of Concern’
- Johns Hopkins study on possible transmission by vaccinated persons
- Regeneron says its Covid-19 antibody cocktail helps prevent symptomatic Covid-19
- NY Times Article: Has the Era of Overzealous Cleaning Finally Come to an End?
- Pfizer, BioNTech Say Covid-19 Vaccine Protects for Six Months
- Merck’s antiviral drug molnupiravir, still in clinical trials, might give doctors a new weapon against the coronavirus — and future pandemics.
- Study shows women showing more vaccine side effects than men.
- Covid-19 Pill Shows Promise in preliminary testing.
- Eli Lilly’s combination therapy of two antibodies, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, helped cut the risk of hospitalization and death in COVID-19 patients by 70%, data from a late-stage trial showed in January. Articles on the Lilly treatment from Reuters and NY Times.
- Doctors continue to be puzzled about the phenomenon of “Long COVID,” circumstances where patients have C19-related symptoms persisting for more than 6 months after infection.
- Study shows the most common “Long COVID” effects on children, include fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain, insomnia and respiratory problems
- New European study shows minimal transmission of COVID-19 in primary schools
- Racial disparities on COVID-19, Black and Latino communities are especially hard hit by the virus
- Study shows babies in the womb get COVID-19 antibodies from their mothers
- Research continues to show COVID’s toll on our mental health, depression
- Study demonstrating that Eli Lilly’s drug prevented coronavirus infections in nursing homes.
- Concerns grow that UK C-19 variant may be more deadly
- New C-19 variant discovered in Ohio
- After COVID infection, new study shows immunity still strong after eight months.
- JAMA study: More that 50% of COVID-19 transmissions are by asymptomatic persons.
- Florida Statistics
- National Statistics: from Stanford University and from John Hopkins University
- Information on vaccine progress
Florida Department of Health
All courts throughout the state remain open. To check the status of the courts by county and for links to contact the courts and clerks in your area, click the Court Order and Links tab above.
FTC infographic about vaccination scams, Three Ways to Avoid Covid-19 Vaccine Scams Infographic, here is this infographic in Spanish.
Here are links to other FTC pandemic-related consumer protection information:
- https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams-consumer-advice (English)
- https://www.ftc.gov/es/coronavirus/las-estafas-relacionadas-con-el-coronavirus (Spanish)
Visit the Bar’s Mental Health and Wellness Center for resources for coping with impacts of COVID-19.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced the launch of Be SMART Florida, a statewide COVID-19 consumer awareness campaign asking Floridians to take small actions with proven results to slow the pandemic’s spread. Search #BeSMARTFL to keep up with the multi-channel awareness campaign.
Florida’s Chief Justice Charles Canady distributed “Best Practices” guidelines developed by a statewide COVID-19 Workgroup to help people navigate new remote procedures used by state courts in the coronavirus pandemic.
Legal Assistance & Legal Aid
- Florida Free Legal Answers is an online service that matches low-income Floridians with licensed attorneys who can answer basic legal questions. On April 8, The Florida Bar announced an expansion of this service.
- The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Servicr is designed to make it easy for consumers in counties without local lawyer referral services to connect to trusted, verified attorneys. See the coverage area or find your local lawyer referral service.
- Directory of legal aid organizations in Florida by county.
- Florida Courts Help provides information about local self-help centers, free and low-cost legal aid, and family law forms.
- The Florida Department of Elder Affairs Senior Legal Helpline — 1-888-895-7873 — provides free legal advice and brief services by telephone appointment to eligible Florida residents age 60 and older, for civil (not criminal) legal problems.
- The Business Law Section of The Florida Bar is posting helpful information for business owners on its website.
Florida Bar Consumer Guides
These pamphlets are not a substitute for hiring an attorney, but they provide basic legal information about the topics they cover.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers resources to help consumers, students with loans and homeowners with mortgages.
- Beware of scams related to the coronavirus
- What you need to know about student loans and the coronavirus pandemic
- Guide to coronavirus mortgage relief options
Attorney General Ashley Moody has activated Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline for Florida consumers. State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency. Anyone who suspects price gouging during this declared state of emergency should report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 866-9-NO-SCAM.
- Governor Ron DeSantis has been making regular announcements regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has created a COVID-19 page with for info on the CARES Act, SBA loans for small businesses, USDA crop insurance updates and more.
- Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is posting information about reemployment assistance and other programs.
- Attorney General Moody issued a Cybersecurity Consumer Alert advising those working from home to guard against hackers and scammers that could access sensitive information on home computers.