The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is infiltrating every aspect of life. It’s affecting our work and how we interact with clients and attend court. Adapting to what seems like a constant change in court procedures is more than frustrating. It is clear this is not business as usual. It’s our new, present reality.
And in many ways, it requires a greater degree of attention and advocacy both for us and our clients. Neither we, as criminal defense lawyers, nor our clients, are expendable. The system cannot and will not work without us.
We all must do our part professionally and personally. First of all, let’s continue to take care of ourselves and our families. We can’t effectively take care of anyone else if we don’t take care of ourselves first. Let’s also continue to support and help each other. We must stand together and collectively advocate for our interests. We are the only ones who look after us. And let’s continue to vigorously advocate for our clients. Let’s file PR bonds when necessary and keep in communication with our clients and their families. Consider how much anxiety parents or loved ones of clients must feel if their loved one is in jail during this pandemic. In spite of this pandemic, our justice system will remain and advocacy for our clients is paramount.
Please also know that there are tremendous resources available through TCDLA, and as always, we have a legion of lawyers willing and ready to help at any point, even if it’s just to talk. Remember our members’ response to Hurricane Harvey in 2017? We will weather this viral storm, too, together.
Let’s all also be careful that the prudent practice of social distancing doesn’t mutate into social isolation. We need each other. And, at the same time, while we may be feeling a bit of cabin fever with the new practice of social distancing, let’s remember our clients in jail, some of them in isolation. If we think social distancing is hard at times, let’s perhaps think about how to channel this feeling into a future jury argument about how hard being separated from society actually is. Now, we all have the common shared experience of social distancing that perhaps we can draw on for the benefit of our clients.
Be safe and well.