Our offices at Offit Kurman have been closed for many weeks now. Almost all of us are working remotely. We have one staff person in our Bethesda office to accept packages, open and scan the mail, and take care of what has to be handled in person. The rest of us are holed up at home navigating this new virtual life.
We are fortunate, indeed, to have our computers and the internet, so we have been able to stay in touch with our clients. We are also relying on platforms, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Webex to handle mediations and other meetings.
Virtual court appearances are becoming more common across the country, and we are all laughing at the news article that came out of Florida. A judge there, holding virtual scheduling hearings, admonished lawyers who appeared before him that appropriate attire was still required, even though they were appearing virtually. What caused the stern warning was that one male attorney appeared shirtless, and a female attorney appeared to be in bed, under the covers! The judge made it clear that pool cover-ups were not appropriate, even though the weather in Florida was warm and sunny.
I continue to be involved with both the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Family Lawyers. As you can imagine, we are trying to ascertain whether or not we will be able to hold meetings that have been planned for years. There is so much uncertainly, and every family, every firm, every business, and every organization is dealing with concerns over what happens next.
According to Dr. Fauci, also known as “the gold standard,” we will not have a vaccine for 18 months. As many of you know, I had polio in 1952. My parents had a connection to the lawyer who owned the farm, the Shalom, where Salk toiled away to develop the polio vaccine. As a result, I was admitted to the Municipal Hospital in Pittsburgh that became “Salk Hall.” Jonas Salk would come to my ward and take my blood regularly. He used that blood to develop the vaccine. Now that we all realize the difficulties of developing a vaccine for the Coronavirus, even with all of the modern technology and cooperation throughout the world, I am even more amazed at Salk’s success. It was truly a miracle, and I hope to see a second one in my lifetime.
The Courts are closed, and although the word is that they may open after June 5, no one knows for sure. We are giving our clients the best advice we can, and we are having a lot of success resolving cases through other means.
Meanwhile, we are balancing our lives at home. Some of us have young children, so we are either entertaining them or following their lessons on Zoom. All of us are cooking and baking more than we ever did – thus, no yeast to be found anywhere! We finally got flour back on the shelves.
All in all, we are following instructions to stay home and stay safe. How much longer that will last is also uncertain. Everyone is getting tired of the current situation. We miss our friends and our families. There may be a resurgence of the Coronavirus if we forget the rules – stay at home, maintain social distancing, wear a mask, and wash hands. Time will tell. Meanwhile, be well and stay safe!
ABOUT CHERYL L. HEPFER
firstname.lastname@example.org | 240.507.1752
Cheryl Hepfer is a highly-regarded attorney who has practiced family law for more than 40 years. She has been rated by her peers and is listed in Best Lawyers in America and as a top lawyer in the Washingtonian, Bethesda Magazine, and Super Lawyers. She is past president of both the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Family Lawyers.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing full-service law firms in the United States. With 14 offices in seven states, and the District of Columbia, and growing by 50% in two years through expansions in New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina, Offit Kurman is well-positioned to meet the legal needs of dynamic businesses and the individuals who own and operate them. For over 30 years, we’ve represented privately held companies and families of wealth throughout their business life cycles.
Whatever and wherever your industry, Offit Kurman is the better way to protect your business, preserve your family’s wealth, and resolve your most challenging legal conflicts. At Offit Kurman, we distinguish ourselves by the quality and breadth of our legal services—as well as our unique operational structure, which encourages a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurialism. The same approach that makes our firm attractive to legal practitioners also gives clients access to experienced counsel in every area of the law.
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