There’s no denying the massive disruption of the COVID-19 crisis on various industries. The law sector is no exception. In fact, the American Bar Association had tackled a vast array of legal issues during its virtual annual meeting back in 2020. They identified crucial matters in the legal community. These include health and safety in courtrooms, logistic and financial demands, unemployment concerns, housing-related issues, and family matters.
It’s good that the legal sector has handled the crisis after two years of the pandemic. Law firms and legal professionals have found ways and means to cope with it. It’s good that the pandemic restrictions have now gotten lighter. The legal community can now better handle legal concerns and help clients on their legal matters.
But let’s take a look at legal issues in the new normal. Keep on reading to know how to address these issues amidst the pandemic.
1. Legal aspects of pandemic restrictions
Laws exist to protect the sovereignty and its people. But amid the COVID-19 crisis, there is friction between protecting the state and upholding the rights of people. The pandemic restrictions such as lockdowns and stay-at-home orders imposed by the governments can put fundamental rights on the line. These include the right to live, voice out, assemble, and travel. It’s good that some pandemic restrictions have already gotten lifted. But still, the governments should exercise their power to limit some rights within the bounds of the law.
2. Employment legalities
There’s no denying the massive disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in business. In fact, small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) and even big companies that went on a temporary hiatus eventually had a permanent closure. Those businesses that have managed to survive had to lay off some employees. Legal issues on employment have arisen, such as unjust termination and employment discrimination. As a business owner or company lawyer, follow the legal guidelines set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These guidelines show how to treat employees during this pandemic.
3. Family legal matters
It’s apparent how family law has gotten drastically disrupted during the pandemic. We’ve seen legal issues such as child support, custody, and visitation. We’ve also witnessed the rise of domestic violence and divorce cases brought about by home isolation and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, most courts have only attended to more pressing issues like protective orders and emergency juvenile concerns. For instance, child adoption may take a backseat during this pandemic. Still, consider hiring and working with an experienced adoption attorney to make this plausible.
4. Civil legal procedures
At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic restrictions have disrupted various courts in different countries. For this reason, civil litigants have confronted obstacles and challenges in legal procedures. For instance, some courts in the United States have issued statutes of limitations to delay particular legal cases of less importance. A perfect example is a personal injury case seeking worker’s compensation for a workplace accident. The legal process may take some time due to the pandemic.
5. Criminal law
The pandemic revolves around the threat of the various strains of the novel coronavirus. The end goal is to curb the spread of the COVID-19 infection. However, it has challenged criminal law due to the potential spread of the novel coronavirus in jails and prisons. As prisoners get cramped in a prison cell, the virus transmission is relatively high. If one gets infected, it’s easy for the virus to spread from one person to another. That’s why legal administrative personnel have been on their toes in managing prisons and jails and promoting health and safety protocols. While the pandemic isn’t yet over, they must continue to implement these measures.
6. Housing-related issues
The last on the list has to do with real estate properties. Several housing-related issues have arisen during the pandemic. In fact, approximately 23 million individuals have faced eviction out of the 110 million renters in the US have. It’s good that the ABA with the National Governors Association has addressed the eviction crisis. These include providing legal eviction defense and eviction monitoring and recording.
They also offer rental assistance like Emergency Rental Assistance Programs and Rental Assistance Database. Lastly, they allow loan defaults, deferment, and even forgiveness provided by mortgage lenders.
At this point, you now know what legal concerns to address during this pandemic. Be sure to consider the legal issues discussed above, from the legalities of the pandemic restrictions to civil legal procedures down to housing-related issues. As a law firm or legal professional, you must make robust decisions and take resilient actions to tackle and address these legal matters. Ultimately, you can help uphold the laws of the land in the new normal.