April 29, 2020
Dear NCBA Members:
I hope you are having a nice week. As the weather begins to turn warmer each day, quarantine feels a little less isolating.
I hope you and yours are continuing to remain healthy and safe, and are finding pleasure in activities like going for a walk, picking up a new hobby, or maybe re-kindling a friendship with an old friend.
Yesterday, I joined with the members of our Supreme Court Coronavirus Task Force in a Skype call with the Hon. Administrative Judge Norman St. George. Our goal was to emphasize the importance of expediting the start of e-filings in nonessential Nassau County matters. Task Force Chair Bill Croutier, Jr., highlighted that the sooner new matters can be electronically filed, the sooner many law offices will get back up and running. It’s not only the lawyers and their clients who are affected by the court shutdown for nonessential new matters, but support staff including paralegals, legal secretaries, file clerks, receptionists and others.
We pointed out that administrative concerns that the commencement of e-filings will result in a flood of new matters being filed, while valid, are not solved by further delay. In fact, the longer the start of non-essential
e-filings is put off, the larger the flood of filings will be. One suggestion raised by a Task Force member was to create a policy to toll the time within which answers would be due for 30 to 60 days, to effectively spread out and “flatten the curve “of responsive filings. Judge St. George seemed genuinely moved by our concerns and promised to raise them in future administrative meetings.
I assure you that the NCBA will continue to actively advocate for the economic well-being of its members and their law firms. Of course, safety is paramount. If the County Clerk can safely provide the necessary staffing to enable e-filing to begin, for example, in mid-May rather than June 1, that would make a critical difference in the lives of law office personnel throughout Nassau County.