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COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force would like to see more uniformity in remote proceedings

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Jay KimAs Florida faces another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board Technology Committee — which has been meeting weekly for the past several months — is finishing work on proposals designed to help lawyers adapt.

Chair Jay Kim, a board member who represents the 17th Circuit, delivered an update to the COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force at an November 17 meeting.

“The Technology Committee has a couple of projects that are ready to be wrapped up,” Kim told task force members.

The committee is scheduled to sign off on guidelines that are designed to make remote proceedings more uniform, Kim said.

After the pandemic forced most courts to pivot to mostly remote proceedings, lawyers said they were frustrated over having to navigate such things as different videoconferencing platforms, or varying procedures for submitting evidence or sharing documents.

The Board of Governors could review them at the next scheduled meeting in December, Kim said.

“Do you envision submitting them as guidelines?” said task force Chair Michael Tanner.

Kim said the committee decided to pursue guidelines or best practices because a rule amendment would be too time consuming.

“We’re not that ambitious,” he joked.

If the Board of Governors agrees to accept the guidelines, the task force will likely promote them on its newly redesigned COVID-19 Information and Resources webpage, https://www.floridabar.org/news/releases/covid19/, Tanner said.

Another committee proposal, to provide Bar members with an IT hotline, is also nearly complete, Kim said. The committee is waiting for vendors to respond to requests for information, Kim said.

The committee is also making progress on a proposal to convince videoconferencing software manufacturers to add features that will better serve the legal profession, Kim said.

The committee recently sent a letter, signed by President Dori Foster-Morales, to Zoom executives, Kim said.

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