Daily Coronavirus Update: Senate Revises Paycheck Protection Program, Court of Appeals Extends Distance Learning Waiver

By Christian Nolan

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Good evening Members,

The U.S. Senate has passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which allows changes to the federal relief program for small businesses suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation, which passed the House last week and is expected to be signed by President Donald Trump, includes the following:

  • Establishes a minimum maturity of five years for a paycheck protection loan with a remaining balance after forgiveness.
  • Extends the covered period from eight weeks to 24 weeks but not past the end of the year for which a loan recipient may use funds for certain expenses while remaining eligible for forgiveness.
  • Raises the non-payroll portion of a forgivable covered loan amount from the current 25% up to 40%.
  • Revises the deferral period for paycheck protection loans, allowing recipients to defer payments until they receive compensation for forgiven amounts. Recipients who do not apply for forgiveness shall have 10 months from the program’s expiration to begin making payments.
  • Flexibility on rehiring, as it pushes back an original June 30 deadline for rehiring laid-off employees.

The legislation does not include 501(c)(6) nonprofit organizations for eligibility for Paycheck Protection Program loans. The House-passed HEROES bill – an over $2 trillion package – did include such funding but that bill died in the Senate last month. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and a variety of business and other organizations support inclusion, so there is still the possibility it will be addressed in another bill.

Distance Learning Waiver Extended

Today, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore signed an order extending the waiver of distance learning limitations through the fall 2020 term. The extended waiver similarly applies to all categories of students, including J.D. students, LL.M. students, and students who have completed fewer than 28 credit hours.

In a statement, the court noted that it does not expect to extend the distance learning waiver for LL.M. students beyond the fall 2020 term given the unique considerations presented by LL.M. programs, and the critical nature of the court’s residency requirement for LL.M. students.

However, to allow increased flexibility, the chief judge’s order also includes a waiver of the limitation on the number of credit hours that may be earned towards an LL.M. degree during the summer 2021 term. This additional waiver will enable law schools to offer fully residential LL.M. programs that begin at the start of the spring 2021 term and continue through a full summer 2021 term.

“The court is mindful of the disruption and stress felt acutely by law students and law school representatives, and remains committed to addressing each issue in a manner that balances the concerns of affected students and institutions, the interests of the public, and the integrity of the legal profession,” said the statement.

DiFiore originally signed an order waiving distance learning limitations on April 21. Pursuant to the waiver, any classroom-based course that has been converted to a virtual course as a result of the public health crisis will count fully as a classroom-based course and not as a distance education course.

COVID-19 Memorial Deadline Tomorrow

NYSBA is inviting you to join us in a special tribute to the spirit of our colleagues who lost their lives to COVID-19.

A COVID-19 memorial video will be played during the virtual meeting of the NYSBA House of Delegates on Saturday, June 13, and will also be shared on the NYSBA website and social media.

If you would like to honor an attorney, judge or legal professional who passed away as a result of the pandemic, please email [email protected] by Friday, June 5, with the name and city of the colleague to be memorialized.

COVID-19 Webinars

Friday, June 5 – School’s Out: Now What? How to Keep Younger Kids Busy While You Balance Being Caretaker and Lawyer.

Wednesday June 10 — Force Majeure & Real Estate: Can You Force Me Out?

Wednesday, June 10 – The Impact of COVID-19 on Sports: A Legal Perspective.

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 take a look at how to make your video conferences more productive by incorporating nonverbal communication cues. We also take a look at attorney-client and attorney-staff relationships when it comes to using remote technology in your legal practice.

Get caught up on NYSBA in the News, as newly sworn-in President Scott M. Karson was interviewed by Bloomberg Law and discussed what his priorities will be for his term including studying legal issues surrounding civil unrest and police brutality, monitoring how law firms are handling reopening, and monitoring issues related to September’s bar exam.

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