What to Expect from Virtual Court Proceedings

Here at Canales PLLC, we consider ourselves strategists. We like to work with all our clients from the very beginning so that they have a clear understanding of what their legal process will look like, what will be required of them, how long it will take, and how much it will cost. This has been standard procedure for us to help clients reduce cost and know what they’re getting into – and we now find that it is even more essential since court proceedings have mostly gone virtual.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the legal system has adopted some changes. It is important to know that hearings and trials are still happening – just not in person. A legal proceeding happening on Zoom instead of a courthouse may seem unusual, but it is just as legally binding. Your behavior and appearance will be considered in the same way. We had better adjust to it, too – court will likely still be happening this way for some time.

For this article, we’ll focus on business cases. If you are a client in one of these cases – say your company is being sued for a breach of contract – you would generally not be expected to be at the courthouse for routine court conferences personally anyway, so not much is changing in light of the pandemic. Your interactions with your lawyer may be virtual, but you will likely not have to appear in a virtual courtroom. However, if your case is scheduled for a hearing on a specific issue or a bench trial (meaning your case is being presented to a Judge instead of a jury) you and your witnesses will need to appear virtually.  There may also be a deposition in your case which would require that you appear virtually and answer questions propounded by your adversary’s counsel outside of the Judge’s presence.  

If you are called in to appear at a virtual court proceeding, you will need the proper equipment. These proceedings are happening over Zoom and Microsoft Teams, so you will need a stable internet connection and a device that can reliably run those programs. Headphones and any sort of microphone are very helpful. Remember that although this may feel the same as those virtual board game nights you’ve been attending, it is the legal administration of justice, and should be treated with appropriate respect. We recommend that you still dress for the occasion and find the most quiet location that you can.

At Canales PLLC, it is safe to say that we are fully adjusted to virtual proceedings. We’ve been doing them for months. Make sure you work with an attorney who can handle the current state of the world as well as they handle the law. If you would like to meet for virtual consult, contact Canales PLLC today. We’re looking forward to talking with you – even if it’s through a screen!

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Canales PLLC

As a minority-owned law firm with experience across a broad range of industries and subject matters, Canales PLLC understands the importance of creating diverse, client-centered solutions that cater to each client’s particular needs.