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

Laid-off lawyers flock to Texas State Bar for health insurance — Enrollment in individual health insurance through the State Bar of Texas has increased significantly since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

No court until June? Texas judicial agency urges ban of in-person proceedings — The Texas Office of Court Administration has recommended that Texas courts delay in-person proceedings of any size until June 1, in a new guidance document for courts. (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

Divorce rates may not be on the rise despite coronavirus pandemic — As COVID-19 has taken its toll in many areas of people lives, divorces may not be on the rise as expected, according to attorneys at the Ramos Law Group. — Houston Chronicle

Is Texas’ coronavirus abortion ban over? State tells court it is. — In a late Wednesday legal filing, the state said abortions can resume, and “there is no case or controversy remaining.” — The Dallas Morning News

State and federal courts urged to lower jail populations during crisis — Civil rights groups say courts should release nonviolent offenders and limit pretrial detention in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. — Courthouse News Service

Federal appeals court stops earlier order, says Texas doesn’t have to give inmates hand sanitizer or face masks for now — The ruling temporarily halted a lower court’s order that was handed down after inmates at a geriatric prison sued the Texas prison system over its handling of the coronavirus. — The Texas Tribune

Texas immigrant detention facilities report surge In COVID-19 cases — The majority of those cases were at a detention center in Alvarado, outside Dallas, where 28 detainees tested positive for the coronavirus. — Houston Public Media

Contact-tracing apps could help contain COVID-19 but raise thorny legal and privacy issues — The decentralized system that Apple and Google are proposing will alert other users who come into proximity with an infected person’s phone. The Bluetooth-based technology is more secure than GPS, which can reveal location data. — ABA Journal

Legal battles loom as businesses hit by virus sue insurers — Among dozens of lawsuits filed to date is one by Los Angeles law firm of celebrity attorney Mark Geragos. — The Associated Press

AG Barr says Justice Department may support lawsuits if states go too far in COVID-19 constraints — U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the Department of Justice will consider supporting lawsuits when states go too far in restricting commerce and civil liberties in the fight against COVID-19. — ABA Journal

Harris County latest to mandate face masks as criticism mounts that the requirement is “government overreach” — GOP officials called it “tyranny” and “government overreach,” taking issue in particular with the $1,000 fine associated with violating the mask requirement. — The Texas Tribune

Babysitter’s conviction questioned; lawyers seek her release amid coronavirus threat — Lawyers for Rosa Jimenez are focused on getting her out of prison, fearing she’ll contract the coronavirus while locked up. — Austin American-Statesman

Coronavirus put her out of work, then debt collectors froze her savings account — There are few options for Texans whose money was taken just before the state temporarily banned such garnishments. — The Texas Tribune

Opinion: The Texas Supreme Court should allow a limited diploma privilege — Michael Ariens, a professor of law at the St. Mary’s University School of Law, urges the Supreme Court to adopt a limited diploma privilege for this year’s bar applicants.(Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

Utah is first state to grant diploma privilege during novel coronavirus pandemic — The Utah Supreme Court approved temporary diploma privilege for individuals who are scheduled to take the July bar exam and graduated from ABA-accredited law schools. The order also applies to attorneys licensed to practice law in other states. — ABA Journal


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.