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Courts & legal news weekly roundup 

This week’s highlights 

  • LegalZoom asks to employ lawyers under new Arizona rules
  • Citing delta variant, New York court system reimposes mask mandates
  • Remote access to state courts should be permanent, CA judicial council report finds
  • Court reporting firms bet on remote reporting well beyond pandemic
  • Top law firm offers $100k for best jingle that pairs well with “fighting for justice”

LegalZoom asks to employ lawyers under new Arizona rules 

“The move would allow LegalZoom to hire lawyers as employees to provide legal advice directly to customers, instead of having to rely solely on an independent network of attorneys who contract with the company.” (Bloomberg

The consumer-focused online legal services website LegalZoom has requested permission to become the next alternative business structure in Arizona. They’re allowed to do so because Arizona has the laxest law firm ownership rules in the country.

Under the proposal LegalZoom would hire lawyers directly, rather than using affiliated law firms. Rocket Lawyer, a similar website, already applied for similar permission months ago.  The move by LegalZoom is significant because the company recently went public and has substantial resources.

Citing delta variant, New York court system reimposes mask mandates 

“Vaccinated and unvaccinated people are now required to mask up in courtrooms and public areas inside courthouses under the updated policy, which went into effect on Friday.” (New York Law Journal

The New York court system has tightened its mask policy over concerns about the spread of highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19, according to a message from Chief Administrative judge Lawrence Marks.

All must now wear masks when inside courthouses, regardless of vaccination status. New York has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks —a trend being repeated in communities across the United States as the Delta variant particularly affects unvaccinated individuals.

Remote access to state courts should be permanent, CA judicial council report finds 

“Allowing state court users to appear remotely during the pandemic has increased access to justice, and the use of such technology should continue even after COVID-19 wanes, an interim report commissioned by the California Judicial Council has concluded.” (The Recorder

A new report from a pandemic working group has found strong support for maintaining extensive remote access to court proceedings.  The working group met with court users representing attorneys, legal aid agencies, and court staff.

The working group recommended that California expand and maximize remote access on a permanent basis for most proceedings and should not default to pre-pandemic levels of in-person operations. The California Court’s website has a detailed summary of the report’s findings.

Court reporting firms bet on remote reporting well beyond pandemic 

“Court reporter agencies and industry observers said the pandemic made many corporations, attorneys and courts believers in remote court reporter proceedings despite opponents’ concerns.” (Legaltech news

Pushback by some court employees and court reporters is “futile” industry leaders have said, citing accelerating trends toward remote court operations.

Jim Cudahy, a former president of the National Court Reporters Association, said such pushback typically stems from a larger concern. “[It’s] to prevent larger [court reporter] firms from having a large footprint in their state [and] making use of nonstenographic reporting in the state. That’s the end goal of that type of effort in my view,” he said. “Not because they have any particular problem with remote reporting.”

Top law firm offers $100k for best jingle that pairs well with “fighting for justice” 

“Go to Morgan & Morgan’s website, and you will see a banner touting $10 billion recovered for clients. Now, the personal injury law firm is prepared to pay $100,000 to one lucky person who writes the best ‘catchy, unforgettable jingle that pairs well with fighting for justice.’” (ABA Journal

The personal injury law firm Morgan & Morgan is ramping up its marketing plans by offering a $100k prize to the musician that creates the catchiest jingle.

The “battle of the jingles” asks creators to write an original song about Morgan & Morgan. It must contain the firm’s slogan “for the people” as well as other firm-related statements, such as “America’s largest injury law firm.’

Author

  • Richard is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at InfoTrack. He has worked with law firms for more than a decade to advise on adapting to regulatory and technological change. He writes about the courts, civil procedure, and developing trends that may affect law firm operations.