Zoom Court Is Now In Session: How the Legal World Has Pivoted to Virtual During COVID-19
Legal proceedings around the country have looked very different amid widespread social distancing and stay-at-home mandates during COVID-19. The Illinois Supreme Court, for instance, held oral arguments over Zoom for the first time ever. Miami-Dade traffic court returned over Zoom after a two-month hiatus. Court system interpreters in Wisconsin have found Zoom’s simultaneous interpretation capabilities extremely helpful for remote proceedings.
Law firms have also had to pivot to serve their clients and fulfill their legal obligations. Florida’s largest law firm, Cole, Scott & Kissane (CSK), transitioned into more of a virtual law firm as it recently standardized on Zoom’s video-first unified communications platform. CSK uses Zoom daily for pre-depositions, depositions, mediations, and other legal proceedings.
CSK was also the first law firm in the state to participate in a virtual trial by jury over Zoom. Additionally, the firm, with 500 attorneys in 13 offices, said it avoided COVID-related layoffs and pay cuts because of Zoom.
“Zoom has been an essential part of keeping our business running,” said Jason Thomas, Chief Information Officer for CSK. “We needed to quickly pivot and change the way we work, and Zoom fit our need for an intuitive and secure solution that our attorneys could start using right away.”
Using Zoom for your virtual law firm
Just how essential has Zoom been for CSK during the pandemic? Critically, according to Thomas. The firm has relied on the Zoom platform for:
- Business continuity, participating in the first Zoom oral argument in Florida back in April, hosted by the Fourth District Court of Appeals (DCA), Third DCA, and the First DCA
- Marketing and training, hosting client marketing and training events with more than a thousand attendees using Zoom Webinars
- Workforce expansion, using Zoom to interview applicants virtually and continue hiring during the pandemic
Thomas said that security and ease of use were two of the main reasons why CSK turned to Zoom to power its virtual law office.
“Zoom has the most robust security features out of any platform that we’ve used, and our users found it much easier than our legacy system,” he said. “Adoption and usage just skyrocketed.”
Additional benefits: Workplace efficiency & community outreach
The overall efficiency of virtual legal collaboration is another benefit of Zoom, according to Australia-based Colin Biggers & Paisley, who used Zoom even before COVID-19 to connect global legal teams and serve clients more effectively.
With clients spanning multiple practice areas, Colin Biggers & Paisley uses Zoom to simultaneously connect clients and its global legal experts, enabling separate legal teams to collaborate on projects using Zoom’s real-time document sharing and annotation.
North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law powers its virtual classrooms and delivers top-tier virtual legal education over Zoom. The platform has been critical for not only improving the education of NCCU law students but also providing educational opportunities in the communities that need them most.
“We use Zoom to solve problems and to extend the knowledge base and resources we have here at NCCU to other places,” said Greg Clinton, Director of Information Technology and Facilities at the NCCU School of Law. “It has become a natural part of what we do.”