Coronavirus in New York City
Last Update: Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at 9:38 PM
Due to government restrictions, The Blanch Law Firm is working remotely, but we remain available by telephone and have been communicating with many of our clients via video conference.
Virtually all court appearances are being rescheduled, but we are willing and able to do whatever is necessary to keep you apprised as the procedures surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) develop.
Please feel free to check our “New York Court Procedures and E-Filing During Coronavirus (COVID-19)” page for the latest developments.
We hope that you and your families are all remaining healthy and safe. For a look into how coronavirus is affecting attorneys, check out this note from an attorney regarding her new daily routine:
How Attorneys Are Coping With Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York
A Note From Our Partner, Elena Fast:
Due to COVID-19, the past few weeks of our practice have been very different. My routine of the past 2 and a half years is completely disrupted.
Instead of taking the 7:29 AM train to Penn, I now have a thirty-second commute to my kitchen island, that is now cluttered with my laptop, Ipad, client files and tomato seedlings that are slowly emerging from a plastic container, not yet ready to be planted outside. I wear my finest athleisure outfits to my makeshift office, although I always put on a blazer for video calls with clients and conferences with the Court.
In times of COVID-19, Court formalities are still held in high regard, even though the Judge, the attorneys, and the Court reporter are communicating from the comfort of their homes.
I find myself drinking a lot more coffee because somehow, that is the only thing that comforts me in these times of uncertainty. It’s a warm reminder of how my day started at the office before COVID-19, and how much I enjoy working with our team at Blanch in real life. Although we see each other regularly on Zoom to talk about our cases, it’s not the same as popping in next door for a few minutes to talk about Judge Torres’ new decision or strategize before a client meeting.
I am thankful for the practice of law becoming more human over the past few weeks. I am thankful that opposing counsel, courts and our clients are all in agreement that cases involving incarcerated clients take priority pretty much over all other matters.
We have been working non-stop on modifications of bail conditions for clients awaiting trial and on compassionate release applications for the sentenced clients.
This time-consuming work involves voluminous calls with the Bureau of Prisons, opposing counsel, the Courts and our clients and their families. As difficult as it is for all of us to self-quarantine and follow CDC’s Guidance, self-quarantine and social distancing are impossible in prisons. Inmates are not provided with personal protection equipment or bleach and are unable to voluntarily isolate themselves from the other individuals on their cell block.
I am thankful for the practice of law becoming less adversarial, at least for the time being. Last week, for example, a New Jersey correctional facility cancelled all attorney client video visits and required that all attorneys appear at the facility in person to communicate with their Clients.
No one at our firm was able to go see our client in person because the State of New York deemed attorneys not to be “essential workers,” thus we were all unable to leave the house for any work activity. Not only did the assigned prosecutor give me a number for a Captain at that jail, a personal friend of his, but he has gone above and beyond to ensure that my client is able to call us privately through her social worker.
By the time we return to business as usual, my tomatoes will most likely be residents of the outdoor garden.
After this quarantine, I will never complain about covering night arraignments, or working 20-hour days at the office during trial. I do hope that knowledge of how much more we can all accomplish with a little more kindness and civility stays with me and the rest of the bar.