Dallas Partner Elizabeth Lang Miers, former Justice on the Court of Appeals for the 5th District of Texas at Dallas, was quoted throughout a Law30 article on the American Bar Association’s virtual 2020 Annual Meeting, during which she spoke on a panel focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the legal profession. Her remarks focused on the adaptations courts have made to conduct business during the pandemic and the challenges that still remain, particularly related to funding.
"Money is a big deal. You see pictures of the erection of acrylic barriers in courtrooms and other facilities to protect people in addition to masks — that costs money. Courts don't have that in their budgets so they have to find money for that," Lang Miers said.
Selecting jurors, ensuring they show up to court and protecting their health are also challenges, Lang Miers noted. Judges have made adjustments, including sending out more summons than usual and attempting jury selection in advance, before the candidates are brought into the courthouse, she said.
While courts are aiming to hear cases in a timely manner, Lang Miers noted a backlog is often unavoidable under the current circumstances.
"Courts are working very hard to make their dockets move as effectively and efficiently as possible. But they are going to need the parties to be patient with it," she said.
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