An Update on Illinois Courts from Managing Partner Danya A. Grunyk
Memorial Day is just behind us and we are all looking forward to these summer months. What will they look like this year? What will we do differently? Restaurants and stores are opening, although seating and mask recommendations make things look and feel different from prior years. We are all experiencing new forms of stress. Hopefully, sunny warm days can make things feel better.
Now an update about Illinois courts:
Good news, they are gradually re-opening. Every county is handling court procedures a bit differently. In most counties we are not going to the courthouse yet with only specific emergency cases (defined narrowly) still being handled in person. However, legal matters are still being processed during this time using new and virtual techniques. Almost all originally scheduled court dates are being rescheduled and “bumped” to later dates in June or July to accommodate these new procedures. Most matters such as status dates or non-evidentiary hearings are now being handled via Zoom calls between attorneys and judges. Everyone is getting proficient handling court calls via Zoom. Once the court provides us with a new court date and we actually “appear” via Zoom. Interestingly, the process seems to move more quickly than in-person court appearances, and we are starting to see cases moving forward effectively. We can expect these virtual procedures to continue through June. After that, we expect to be able to return to the courthouses, masks on, for prescheduled court appearances that continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The good news:
Beginning in June, in addition to Zoom or FaceTime calls, we will also be offering clients the opportunity to come to the office to meet, if you prefer an in-person meeting. Social distancing and face mask guidelines will still be enforced for the safety of your family and ours. In addition to cases requiring court appearances, remember we also offer mediation and collaborative law. These alternate dispute resolution processes allow you to address legal issues, reach agreements, and have court orders entered, without the necessity of waiting for the court to schedule Zoom or in-person appearances. It is a new world out there in terms of how we are interacting with the courts and with each other, and we are making it work! Stay safe and enjoy the summer!
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