The legal community has adapted to the use of technology over the past year like in no other time in the professions history, but the NYS Unified Court System wants to make sure that people aren't getting too comfortable during virtual hearings and has issued guidance on suggested decorum.
On Thursday, Hon. George J. Silver and Hon. Vito C. Caruso, the Deputy Chief Administrative Judges for inside and outside New York City, respectively, issued the following statement:
"The COVID-19 pandemic has required all courts across New York State to innovate and adapt in order to continue to provide the effective and efficient administration of justice and Access to Justice for all court users consistent with the highest standards of Chief Judge DiFiore's Excellence Initiative. Our courts have uniformly transitioned to Microsoft Teams as a platform to conduct virtual proceedings. Appropriate decorum/etiquette is a necessity during all virtual court proceedings."
The judges referred to virtual proceedings as a formal appearance and said attorneys should ensure the following:
- "Dress in appropriate attire, as if you were appearing in-person in court"
- "Display an appropriate and professional background"
- "No consumption of food or drink during the proceeding"
- "Remain professional and dignified"
- "As in ln-Person proceedings, only one person should be speaking at a time"
The memorandum can be read in its entirely here.