Daily Coronavirus Update: NYC Housing Court To Resume In-Person Proceedings

By Brandon Vogel

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Good afternoon Members,

In her latest video update, Chief Judge DiFiore announced that the courts are moving ahead with the safe and limited resumption of in-person proceedings in the New York City Housing Court. Last Monday, the court introduced its NYSCEF e-filing system to the New York County Housing Court, and by Aug. 10th, will introduce e-filing to the Kings County Housing Court.

DiFiore said, “Now that we have implemented all responsible measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our courthouses, we have a constitutional obligation to gradually transition back to in-person operations, as we are doing now all across the state, highlighted by a number of bench trials including a murder case in Nassau County that started last week, and several other trials, suspended in March, that are now resuming:

  • A jury trial of a first-degree rape case in Cortland County, in the 6th Judicial District, which resumes today;
  • A jury trial of a murder case in Bronx Supreme Court, scheduled to resume on July 28;
  • And a medical malpractice jury trial in Suffolk County, scheduled to resume on July 27.

DiFiore added, “While virtual proceedings will continue to play an important role for us in limiting courthouse traffic, we are unwavering in our commitment to move forward, safely and responsibly, with in-person appearances in order to carry out our constitutional mission of fairly and speedily resolving cases, including those involving the constitutional rights of accused individuals, many of whom have been incarcerated since early in the pandemic.”

Chief Judge DiFiore also has convened a Working Group on the Future of the Bar Exam, led by former Court of Appeals Judge, Howard Levine, to promptly review and recommend whether New York should participate in the online bar exam being offered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners in October. The group is also considering whether New York should adopt an emergency diploma privilege in lieu of the bar exam or whether we should take any other immediate measures designed to ameliorate the difficulties faced by our 2020 law graduates.

She concluded: Let’s stay unified, and let’s continue to support each other in carrying out our respective roles and missions and in fulfilling our shared responsibilities to the public, and let’s leave no doubt that our work is dedicated to supporting and promoting the rule of law.

Coronavirus Relief

As Congress returns today to Washington, D.C., the New York State Bar Association is urging lawmakers to expand coronavirus relief to student borrowers, rural residents who lack access to broadband and nonprofits.

NYSBA president Scott M. Karson called upon the New York Congressional delegation to extend the moratorium on student loan payments, expand relief to private borrowers and provide financial support in extreme cases. The moratorium on student loan payments established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) ACT is set to expire at the end of September.

“More than 40 million Americans, mostly people under 35 years of age, have student loan debt,” Karson said in a letter to the delegation. “Unfortunately, we may still be facing more months of stress, uncertainty, isolation, and financial hardships. One group that is particularly impacted is recent graduates.”

“The pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders have left millions of Americans working, educating, and socializing in a virtual world,” Karson said. “It has become abundantly clear that broadband service is an important communications tool that has become vitally necessary for educational purposes, telemedicine as well as access to justice.”

The association is also urging Congress to allow trade and professional associations that operate as 501(c)(6) organizations to apply for grants and loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. He cited NYSBA as an example of a nonprofit that would benefit from such relief.

“The coronavirus pandemic has caused significant disruption to in-person meetings and programs run by NYSBA and our 26 sections and 60 committees,” Karson said in the letter. “Like other small businesses, NYSBA and other 501(c)(6) organizations throughout New York State will undoubtedly suffer adverse consequences due to reduced revenues, which will in turn impact many employees and their families.

“Including 501(c)(6) organizations as participants in the Paycheck Protection Program would help provide much-needed assistance to an important segment of New York State’s and America’s economy,” he said.

COVID-19 Webinars

Tuesday, July 20 – Elder Law & Special Needs Section Virtual Summer Meeting Series: Session IV: Medicaid Changes

Tuesday, July 20 – Finding The Compassion Balance: Mindful Lawyering & Vicarious Trauma

Tuesday, July 20 – Commercial Arbitration Training For Arbitrators And Counsel: Comprehensive Training For The Conducting Of Commercial Arbitrations, Domestic And International (Webinar)

Latest NYSBA.ORG Coronavirus News

We are adding new content each day to our website related to the coronavirus public health emergency and its impact on the legal community.

Today we are looking at ways to turn leads into clients during COVID-19. As a solo practitioner, Leona Krasner said there’s an adage that in the practice of law, 1/3 of the time is spent finding clients, another 1/3 doing the work and the last 1/3 trying to get paid.

“Your messaging should very clearly relate to what people type into Google to find out,” said Krasner. “This way you are getting referred the right folks. Ask yourself who are your ideal clients.”

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