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

State Bar of Texas Coronavirus Public Resources Page — Texasbar.com/COVIDHelp

Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program Well-being Resources page — Texasbar.com/remote-well-being

TexasBarBooks offers free access to Texas Guardianship Manual Online — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many attorneys are finding the need to put medical directives, powers of attorney, and other advance documents in place for clients. — Texas Bar Blog

Texas courts held over 10,000 remote hearings in past 2 weeks, OCA estimates — Texas courts held more than 10,000 hearings over the past two weeks through Zoom licenses issued by the Office of Court Administration, the OCA reported Thursday. — Texas Bar Blog

Texas State Law Library offers home access to Lexis Advance — The Texas State Law Library is providing virtual access to Lexis Advance through May 31 to facilitate social distancing. — Texas Bar Blog

Ex-judge slams Houston criminal judges for forcing in-person appearances amid COVID-19 spread — “If there is one place a rule should be followed, it’s the courthouse,” Elsa Alcala said. “The irony of the whole situation was shocking to me. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing.” (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

Hotze challenge to Harris County stay-home order moves to state district court — The Texas Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Harris County’s stay-at-home order, though the legal fight is set to continue in state district court. — Houston Chronicle

Instead of ‘all rise,’ it’s clicks on the phone that signal court is in session — Bexar County’s civil District Courts recently began hearing all cases remotely, using either audio or video. (Subscription required) — San Antonio Express-News

Commentary: Key question for litigators as COVID-19 rages: which cases are ‘essential’? (podcast) — Commercial litigation between companies affected by COVID-19 is beginning to hit U.S. dockets. But courts may well have a different view of what’s essential right now – and litigators would do well to keep that in mind. — Reuters

Coronavirus upends US court systems nationwide — The coronavirus pandemic has crippled the U.S. legal system, creating constitutional dilemmas as the accused miss their days in court. — The Associated Press

Quarantine cooking, wills through windows: Lawyers are adapting to COVID-19 rules — “I miss the camaraderie of being in the office,” said Austin attorney Carolyn Ostrom. “They are all people I really like.” (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

Some abortions may proceed in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic, federal judge rules — In his second rebuke to state officials, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled Thursday that certain patients may undergo abortions as Texas battles the new coronavirus. — The Texas Tribune

Tarrant County Bar revamps LegalLine to assist during COVID-19 pandemic — The Tarrant County Bar Association is hosting a free LegalLine service that allows members of the public to sign up online to have a lawyer call back with advice and resources to help resolve their civil legal matters. — Texas Bar Blog

Dallas Bar Association offering LegalLine clinic April 15 — The Dallas Bar Association will have volunteer attorneys available to answer legal questions at no cost from 4 to 8 p.m. April 15 via a LegalLine clinic. — Texas Bar Blog

San Antonio Bar launches San Antonio Legal Services Association — The San Antonio Bar Association has launched the San Antonio Legal Services Association, or SALSA, making its Community Justice Program an independent organization. — Texas Bar Blog

As COVID-19 cases rise, TDCJ says the biggest risk to inmates comes from outside (audio) — The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced Wednesday that it’s locking down 15 prisons in response to the coronavirus crisis. — Texas Standard

FBI: Man arrested for claiming he paid someone to spread COVID-19 at Texas grocery stores — The FBI has arrested a man after he allegedly posted a threat on Facebook, claiming he paid someone to spread coronavirus at local grocery stores. — WOAI – San Antonio

Parking lot court ready to go — In a county in eastern Tennessee with little access to the internet, attorneys stand before Judge Mike Pemberton in proceedings held outside in a parking lot. — Courthouse News Service


To keep up on the latest legal news from around the state, sign up for the State Bar of Texas’ Daily News Briefing by clicking here.