Right now, in the first half of 2020, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. A highly contagious virus is sweeping the nations and the United States is one of the worst impacted of the group. Up until recently, people have been encouraged to self-isolate and only go out for essential trips, like groceries and for medical purposes. Even now, as some businesses open back up, precaution is still encouraged and social distancing is still recommended as much as possible.
But sometimes, attending to business is necessary, especially if you have legal matters. Law offices are often considered essential, and yours may have been open for business this entire time. Or your attorney may have inform you that all business is still being conducted remotely.
Either way, here some of the best ways to work with your attorney during COVID-19 — no matter if you’re meeting in person or remotely.
Working With Your Attorney In Person
If you decide to work with your attorney in person, instead of remotely, here are some things you can do to keep everyone safe.
1. Wear a Face Covering
To protect both you and your attorney, it’s best to wear something over your face. Even the strongest masks still have some level of droplet escape. When you sneeze or cough, the droplets end up on the outside surface of your mask. When someone else sneezes or coughs, some droplets can land on your mask and seep through to the inside.
With two masks to get through, it’s less likely either of you will pass on the virus. Note that you shouldn’t be meeting if you know you have the virus, but you can’t know you’re passing it on if you’re asymptomatic.
2. Avoid Shaking Hands
Handshakes are an age-old formality, but now they’re terrifying, virus-spreading gestures. If you must shake hands, wear gloves and change them as soon as you leave. But lacking gloves, make sure you wash your hands as soon as you can, or use hand sanitizer that’s at least 70% alcohol.
3. Bring Your Own Pen
One big reason you might need to meet in person is for signing documents. Under these circumstances, it’s better to bring your own pen. How many people share the pens in a law firm in a day? Maybe dozens, and any one of them could be infected.
4. Meet Outdoors
Outdoors anything you breathe out will likely be swept up in the wind. Either that or the outdoor air will be enough to dry it out before it hits the ground, as was observed in some studies a few decades ago. A meeting in open air is a nice break from stuffy offices and doubles as protection for all involved.
Working With Your Attorney Remotely
While working with your attorney remotely is undoubtedly safer in the midst of the pandemic, it can present challenges. Here are some ways to handle those.
1. Utilize Videoconferencing
Video quality is not what it was. Gone are the days of frozen Skype calls and even worse, Hotmail and Yahoo video chatting, for now we have high-quality technology at the touch of a few buttons, such as Zoom, like the professionals at https://www.ljacobsonlaw.com/ use.
What meeting needs to be held in person, really? Some states may have emergency orders in place to allow attorneys to permit documents, such as wills and powers of attorney, to be witnessed via video-conferencing solutions like the ones mentioned above. See if your attorney’s firm provides this option.
You can talk over the phone or computer and turn the cameras on for a more connected experience. Really the only reason you need to be in the same room is to sign documents, but there’s a solution for that, too.
2. Sign Online
Once again, the necessity for in-person meetings has vanished. Where an online signature once meant a shaky MS Paint piece with your name, now there are dozens of companies that can help you sign documents electronically with ease.
Adobe Sign, DocuSign and HelloSign are just a small sampling of companies letting you do the digital deal. You can use a desktop, laptop or phone for this at your leisure, with the conformation that the companies will track who signed what, when it was and how they did it.
3. Go Snail Mail
If you can’t sign online, don’t worry. Your attorney can print off the documents and send them the old- fashioned way. Then the two of you can video-conference, get everyone else involved in on it too, and do the signing in person, apart.
4. File Share
You can’t just hand someone a copy of a contract anymore and have them read it. You could use snail mail for this, but it’s so … snailey. Investing in some file sharing applications is a must so you can get the meeting running smoothly beforehand. Google Drive is an excellent choice, and it’s free to an extent.