The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in court closures and restrictions across the United States. While many law firms have been able to utilize cloud software such as Smokeball to seamlessly transition to working remotely, these court constraints have created an additional barrier to continuing business-as-usual.

What this means for courts

Social distancing has become the new normal for people across the globe. Businesses, restaurants, and schools have had to find ways to continue operating while limiting person-to-person contact and maximizing remote work, and our court systems are no exception. Here are some of the measures your state court may be taking to support COVID-19 mitigation efforts:

  • Restricting or ending jury trials
  • Restricting entrance to courthouses
  • Suspending in-person proceedings
  • Extensions for court deadlines
  • Moving from in-person to virtual hearings

As of March 27th, Ballotpedia reported that 34 states had suspended in-person proceedings statewide, with an additional 16 states suspending in-person proceedings at the local level.

Ultimately, each state will have its own policies for dealing with COVID-19, and we encourage you to check on your state court’s website for the most up-to-date and accurate information for your locality. This resource from Ballotpedia contains an overview of court closures throughout the United States, as well as links to those states’ individual websites for additional information.

What this means for Smokeball users

A large proportion of Smokeball clients are located in Illinois, California, and Florida. Please see below for more information on court closings in those states:

  • Illinois– The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that it will continue to operate and will be adhering to directives issued by the CDC. For more information on changes to Illinois courts at the local level due to COVID-19, please check this page.
  • California– The California Supreme Court has suspended in-person oral arguments and jury trials. Click here for additional information.
  • Florida– Florida has suspended all face-to-face legal proceedings until April 17th. For more updates, click here.

As you navigate this new world of court closures and working remotely, Smokeball is here to help. All of the features below are included with your Smokeball subscription; if you need additional guidance and training on any aspect of Smokeball during this unprecedented time, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

  • Secure e-filing
  • Document automation with access to our library of 17,000+ court forms
  • A secure chat and file sharing portal, Communicate, that enables you to keep in touch with your colleagues and your clients no matter where you’re working from
  • Track your hours effortlessly with Auto:Time
  • Insights to help you keep track of what your colleagues are working on
  • Billing and invoicing capabilities

While the global situation changes day-by-day, the best thing you can do for your law firm and your clients is to stay informed and continue to adapt as those changes happen. Smokeball is here to help.