Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing this collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to the novel coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the legal community.

Important links

State Bar of Texas Coronavirus Legal Resources Page — Texasbar.com/coronavirus

Check the Office of Court Administration’s website for court closures or delays reported to the OCA

Texas Supreme Court coronavirus update — Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht ordered the Supreme Court Building indefinitely closed to the public Wednesday in expanding efforts to thwart spread of COVID-19. The State Preservation Board also closed the adjacent Capitol complex. — Texas Bar Blog

Big Law goes remote: Updates on law firm closures during the coronavirus crisis — Firms across the country are making decisions on whether to keep offices open amid the coronavirus pandemic. We catalog here those firms that have confirmed their plans. — Texas Lawyer

Gov. Greg Abbott on Texas bars and restaurants: Expect an announcement Thursday — “We’re dealing with something … that is not just statewide in scope, not just nationwide in scope, but is worldwide in scope,” Abbott said. — The Texas Tribune

Coronavirus outbreak could postpone Texas municipal elections until November — As the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation Wednesday that will allow municipalities to postpone their upcoming May 2 elections until November. — The Texas Tribune

As COVID-19 disrupts Spring Break, Texas Supreme Court resolves a key custody dispute — The COVID-19 pandemic has created urgent disputes among divorced parents about who keeps the children during widespread post-spring break school closures, forcing the Texas Supreme Court to step in with an answer. (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

Lawyers are supposed to plan for the worst, so how can you ease COVID-19 anxiety? — Getting out of your own head and thinking about other people’s concerns, rather than only focusing on your own, is a strategy to stay sober in the 12-step community. And it’s a good way to deal with anxiety around the coronavirus, regardless of whether you have an addiction issue, says Bree Buchanan, president of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. — ABA Journal

From inside the Italian quarantine: lawyering on lockdown — Growing up in New Hampshire, I’m used to a degree of isolation from having to remain indoors during winter months. The isolation I experienced then pales in comparison to the conditions we’re currently facing here in Italy, where the streets are empty and constantly patrolled by Italian polizia and Carabinieri. — Texas Bar Blog

Lawsuits over coronavirus quarantines are unlikely to succeed, experts say — Lawsuits challenging COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions on public gatherings may be doomed to failure. — ABA Journal

In Texas, battles over paid sick leave linger as coronavirus spreads (audio) — Of the 193 countries that in the world, 179 offer some form of paid sick leave so workers can stay home when they’re unwell. The U.S. is not one of those countries. — KERA – Austin

Texas is urging patients to seek remote health care. Some insurance plans won’t pay for it. — As millions of Texans isolate themselves in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, state officials are working to ramp up the use of telemedicine. But many health plans are outside of their regulatory authority. — The Texas Tribune

“It’s going to hurt”: New coronavirus shocks Texas economy as length of public health crisis remains unknown — The novel coronavirus has caught governments unprepared, put people out of work and set businesses on the brink of closure. Congress is working on a federal stimulus package as unemployment claims in Texas are expected to rise. — The Texas Tribune

ICE to stop most immigration enforcement inside United States, will focus on criminals during coronavirus outbreak — United States immigration authorities will temporarily halt enforcement across the country except for efforts to deport foreign nationals who have committed crimes or who pose a threat to public safety. — The Texas Tribune

Texas prisons ramp up coronavirus protection measures — As the number of infections and deaths from the new coronavirus rise across Texas, prison officials are ramping up efforts to prevent an outbreak among the state’s 149,000 inmates. — USA Today Network

COVID-19 scams on the rise — Scams related to the pandemic are emerging, but local state and federal officials are taking action to combat such unscrupulous practices. — Texarkana Gazette

Lawsuit in Dallas federal court accuses Chinese government of creating coronavirus as ‘biological weapon’ — The Florida man filed a class-action federal lawsuit Tuesday in Dallas against the People’s Republic for creating “massive damage.” The lawsuit seeks “an award in excess of $20 trillion U.S. Dollars.” The effort, however, is not expected to be successful in court. — The Dallas Morning News

Law schools adopt pass-fail grades as they move online amid COVID-19 — At least five highly ranked law schools have said they are moving to pass/fail grading this semester—a change that could disrupt the normal law firm summer associate hiring process. (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

Summer associate hiring was strong, but COVID-19 prompts uncertainty ahead — While the latest hiring data from NALP shows that 2019 was a strong year for summer associate hiring, the coronavirus is raising questions about whether those summer programs will take place as expected. (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

COVID-19 throws a wrench into surrogacy — COVID-19 is affecting every facet of our lives, and the world of surrogacy is no exception. — Above The Law

Government guidelines urge people to work from home. So why are government workers required to come to the office? — President Donald Trump issued guidelines suggesting people avoid groups larger than 10 people. Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott directed state agencies to provide flexible and remote work options to employees. But many government workers still don’t have the option. — The Texas Tribune


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