As the current health and economic crisis associated with COVID-19 (coronavirus) develops, MAJ will continue to update members with important developments, news and opportunities to help in the trial attorney and greater legal communities.
Law Firms Still Considered Essential
On Monday, March 30, Governor Larry Hogan announced the latest in a line of Executive Orders, directing all Maryland residents to "stay at home" unless they have an essential reason such as acquiring food, medicine or medical attention or they are part of the workforce that has been deemed "essential" workers by the state.
Since law offices have been deemed "essential," this will not change our members' ability to stay open. However, Governor Hogan has encouraged essential businesses to scale down operations and implement remote work as much as possible.
Whether or not law offices stay open is also affected by the decision of the Maryland Courts not to issue blanket extensions of deadlines under current scheduling orders, try-by dates, and toll civil statutes of limitations, despite surrounding states taking such actions. MAJ continues to share members comments and concerns about meeting deadlines while trying to stay safe and do their part to lower the curve.
Effective March 30th, Governor Hogan ordered the in-person requirement for notarizing documents in Maryland is temporarily waived for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

The document issues temporary guidelines that apply during the emergency waiver of the in-person requirement. All other requirements for performing notarial acts are in full force and effect. Much of this guidance is taken from a new remote notary law is currently scheduled to take effect in the State of Maryland on October 1, 2020.
Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera announced this past Wednesday in a new Administrative Order that Maryland Courts will continue their closures to the public with few exceptions through April and into May.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Maryland Judiciary to take further action to protect court visitors and Judiciary personnel. The courts remain committed in this challenging time to ensuring the public’s justice needs are met to the extent possible during this public health emergency.”
Matters such as bail reviews, domestic violence petitions, family law emergencies, juvenile detention hearings and search warrants will continue to be handled by courts, which are currently operating with limited staff.
Maryland Association for Justice, Inc.