We’re writing to share recent updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.
Office of Court Administration Guidance
The Office of Court Administration issued updated guidance on conducting court proceedings as a result of Governor Greg Abbott’s April 17 executive orders to begin the process of lifting restrictions that were placed on the public and businesses due to the pandemic.
The guidance includes that all in-person proceedings should be delayed until at least June 1 and lays out several other provisions, emphasizing that most proceedings may be conducted remotely. Read the full court operation guidance here. The OCA reported that it will issue detailed guidance soon regarding if and how courts should consider bringing teleworking staff back to the courthouse and how in-person proceedings should be handled when orders allow those proceedings to occur.
Law Practice Management Resources
The State Bar of Texas Law Practice Management Committee has gathered experts from the legal community to host webinars and provide other useful resources on a webpage designed to aid attorneys in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Resources on the site include videos on executing estate-planning documents, employers’ responsibilities under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the ethics of law firm succession planning, among many others. View the committee’s resources here.
Health Insurance and Complimentary Telehealth Subscription
If you find yourself needing health insurance outside of the annual open enrollment period because of a loss of employment or other qualifying event, the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange offers several options for State Bar of Texas members, including traditional ACA-compliant health insurance and short-term health insurance.
Also, for a limited time, the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is offering all State Bar members a complimentary subscription to telehealth services, with only a $10-per-visit copay. Telehealth physicians assess symptoms remotely and determine the appropriate next steps for every patient they see. Upon expiration of the complimentary period, on May 31, members who wish to continue their telehealth service will have the option to purchase an ongoing subscription for $9 per month but are under no obligation to do so. We recognize some members may have access to a similar service through their insurance or healthcare providers, but others may not. To learn more or enroll in the service, go here.
May Issue of Texas Bar Journal
The May edition of the Texas Bar Journal focuses on “Practicing During the Pandemic” and is filled with tools to help you in your work, from teleworking tips and leadership resources to family law issues and stimulus package information. Many of the journal’s articles as well as other resources have been posted early to the Texas Bar Blog and are collected on our texasbar.com/coronavirus webpage under “Free Lawyer Resources.”
Resources to Keep You Informed
Bar staff are regularly updating texasbar.com/coronavirus with the latest resources and information like those above to help you stay informed of the changes affecting our profession. You also can sign up for the State Bar’s Daily News Briefing at texasbar.com/dailynews to receive the latest legal news updates in your inbox every weekday.
Randy Sorrels, President
Trey Apffel, Executive Director