In March 2020, the New York State Courts and attorneys’ offices all over the state shut down as part of the public’s broad effort to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, and the legal profession quickly transitioned to remote operations. Remote team meetings, court appearances, arbitration hearings, networking events, and depositions were all borne from the necessity imposed by closed offices and social distancing.
Despite the sometimes steep learning curve associated with the remote conferencing technology and systems, remote proceedings became surprisingly effective. Lawyers who once swore that there was nothing like being in the same room as their adversary found that, in many cases, the Zoom or Teams suite works just fine. As a consequence, one need not look beyond the pages of this blog to see that for many, remote practices are here to stay. Commercial Division Rule 1 now allows attorneys to request to appear remotely, saving client costs and avoiding the unnecessary risk of infection. In February, we wrote about the Commercial Division Advisory Committee’s proposed rule authorizing and regulating the use of remote depositions. The proposed rule has received favorable comment.