by Elias Tabchouri, Principal Lawyer at Macquarie Law Group
As a lawyer accustomed to spending every working day in court I sit contemplating what the future holds for the legal industry. What is not in dispute is that the legal industry is an essential service and therefore must continue. The way it will proceed is the real question that many of us are still coming to terms with.
Different areas of law offer different challenges and solutions for the lawyers that practice within them.
Technology allows most lawyers to work on most of their matters from home. The days of requiring face to face meetings have been replaced by any number of different audio visual programs, alleviating the need to be in one room.
Lawyers that practice in areas that centre primarily on drafting contracts and agreements will find working from home a fairly simple transition of what they already do in their offices, to their homes.
All resources required are available electronically, as the days of requiring access to books left us some time ago.
In theory, then it seems that all can go on smoothly, or so it seems.
The courts have now implemented procedures wherein physical appearances are now the exception rather than the rule. All jury trials have been vacated in all jurisdictions. Local court hearings for defendants on bail have been vacated. All mentions and adjournments are essentially being done electronically without the need for lawyers to attend court.
There is currently being put in place procedures for lawyers to attend to matters requiring argument in court to be done via audio visual capabilities, with all parties in different locations.
Even the High Court has decided that it will not hear cases until August 2020.
We live in a different legal world. What the future holds will be dictated by what happens in relation to the COVID-19 virus. Lawyers, like the rest of the community, are now in the greatest fight they have seen in 100 years.
The industry will rationalise and probably make changes that will become the norm well after the virus is gone.
About the author
Since the start of his legal career, Elias Tabchouri has practiced in a number of areas of law including Criminal Law, Commercial Law, Property Law, and Family Law. Elias founded Macquarie Lawyers in Parramatta with partners in 1998. In 2006, he left the partnership and opened his own branch office in Burwood called Macquarie Law Group. An expert primarily in criminal law, Elias has been recognised as an accredited specialist in the area by the Law Society.