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Update from President Regarding LSBA Response to Coronavirus


A letter from LSBA President Robert A. Kutcher regarding the coronavirus and its impact on the Association's operations.

Dear Louisiana State Bar Association Members:

As we conclude our second week of remote operation of the Louisiana State Bar Association, our thoughts remain with all of those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Our first COVID-19 free live CLE webinar was held today - “E-Signatures: What to Do if You and Your Client Cannot Meet- THE STATE OF THE LAW,” – and more than 800 participated. Here’s a list of upcoming live webinars:

• Monday, March 30, 9:45 a.m. – 11 a.m.
E-Signatures: What to Do if You and Your Client Cannot Meet- THE STATE OF THE LAW
Presented by Jason R. Anders
• Wednesday, April 1, 9:45 a.m. – 11 a.m.
E-Signatures: What to Do if You and Your Client Cannot Meet- THE STATE OF THE LAW
Presented by Jason R. Anders
• Friday, April 3, 9:45 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Reputation Management:  Creating a Positive Presence Online
Presented by Gayle O’Connor
• Thursday, April 7, 9:45 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Ethics in Uncertain Times:  Ethics Advisory Service – We’re Available to Help When You Need Us 
Presented by Robert A. Kutcher, Eric K. Barefield and Richard P. Lemmler, Jr.

Click here to register for these programs: https://www.lsba.org/practicemanagement/covid19webinars.aspx 

Additional free live webinars are being confirmed so please watch your email and LSBA.org for more information.

The LSBA has cancelled all in-person programming through the end of May. Some of the events have been rescheduled for later this year while decisions on others is still pending.  We are continuing to monitor this evolving situation and will make decisions on future programming in line with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in compliance with governmental emergency orders. We will continue to keep our members informed through email communications, www.LSBA.org and our social media platforms.

Many of you may be wondering how you can help during this time without risking exposure to you, your loved ones, and those in need. LA.FreeLegalAnswers.org allows attorneys to volunteer their legal expertise virtually to low income users who post civil legal questions to the site. As we all have been asked to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19, we believe this site will be more valuable than ever to help those in need with their civil legal issues. The LSBA launched LA.FreeLegalAnswers.org two years ago as part of an ABA initiative to expand access to pro bono legal advice. Since then, our site’s volunteers have answered more than 1,500 questions submitted on various issues, including: family law, successions, consumer debt, contracts, and landlord/tenant issues. Click here to watch a video about how Free Legal Answers works and why our volunteers enjoy providing pro bono services through the site. The ABA provides malpractice insurance for advice provided through the site and you can earn 1 hour of CLE credit for every 5 hours of volunteer service you provide through the site (with a maximum of 3 CLE credits). Please consider registering as a volunteer with the site as we anticipate the number of questions submitted will rise dramatically as low-income Louisianans begin to feel the legal ramifications of COVID-19. For more information about the site contact ATJ Projects Counsel Rachael Mills at Rachael.mills@lsba.org or 504-619-0104. 

We remain in contact with the Louisiana Supreme Court, which recently commented as follows through Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson: “First and foremost, we must handle this public health crisis in a way that protects the health and safety of everyone at our court facilities, while at the same time, to the extent possible, maintains access to the courts.” The Court’s March 23 Order, which states in part that “courts must take immediate measures to limit access to courtrooms and other spaces, with absolute minimum physical 
contact, to practice social distancing and limit court activity to only the essential functions,” may be found here: https://www.lasc.org/COVID19/orders/2020-03-23_LASC.pdf. Additional orders and information may be found at:  http://www.lasc.org/COVID19/ 

The April/May issue of the Louisiana Bar Journal has been uploaded and is available at: https://www.lsba.org/GoTo/Journal. Mailed copies will go out on schedule but you may view it now on our website.

The Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization has extended the deadline until April 17, 2020 for submission of applications for board certification in the areas of appellate practice, estate planning and administration, family law, health law and tax law. For additional information, go to: https://www.lsba.org/Specialization/

The National Law Journal has provided tips and best practices for running your law firm remotely during COVID-19 (and possibly beyond): https://www.natlawreview.com/article/how-to-manage-your-law-firm-remotely-during-covid-19

We understand that isolation, coupled with health and financial uncertainties, can be extremely challenging, especially for the most vulnerable. The Judges and Lawyers Association Program has compiled a list of resources which are available here: https://louisianajlap.com/covid-19/

The LSBA’s online Tech Center has myriad resources, many of which are extremely relevant in this time of working remotely and relying more than ever on technology-focused business tools. Take advantage of these resources: https://www.lsba.org/PracticeManagement/TechCenter.aspx 

The LSBA’s goal continues to be to provide resources which will assist you during this difficult time. Staff members are responding to emails as quickly as possible and we respectfully ask for your understanding if our response time is not up to our usual standards. Stay safe and well.

Sincerely,
Robert A. Kutcher
President
Louisiana State Bar Association


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