While the COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, it’s also a significant additional stressor on the already stretched legal system. But as is often the case, “stress brings about change — and some of that change is very positive and most probably here to stay,” says Olivier Archambault-Lafond, lawyer at Woods LLP.
Now that the pandemic has made proceeding virtually a necessity, it has streamlined practice by allowing lawyers to work from their offices while they wait, meaning invoicing reflects the minimum amount of time strictly required to get the procedural issue solved.
“That’s a significant development in our practice,” says Archambault-Lafond. “The goal is to provide excellent, top-of-the-line services, but at a fair price and efficiently.”
Other positive developments include the use of technology in dealing with documents, which is more efficient and more environmentally friendly than using exclusively paper; and having witnesses whose testimony is shorter or more marginal to the case proceed virtually, which ensures that court time is preserved and used as efficiently as possible.
“[Though] we’ve adjusted admirably for the period of COVID, we’ll be happy to go back to court in certain instances and phases of proceedings that hinge on testimony,” Archambault-Lafond says. “The legal system is still one that deals with human issues and human interactions, and we can lose dimensions of those interactions by moving exclusively to the virtual world.”
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