This blog post was inspired by the LawPro blog post on managing litigation.
In this unprecedented time of change, you and your clients may be experiencing significant disruptions to normal business. As individuals and businesses adopt physical distancing and certain courts and tribunals have suspended all or certain operations, it is important to discuss the fluid situation with clients and develop strategies to adapt where possible. At the same time, you will need to recognize that advocacy at this time requires flexibility and adapting to new challenges. Certain tasks may take longer to complete. It may be difficult to obtain client instructions in a timely manner. Working remotely may lead to decreased productivity. Continue to manage your files to the best of your ability, using these tips:
Keep a file list, and triage based on urgency. Determine whether there are existing Court orders, rules or timetables in place which should be amended.
Communicate with your clients
At this point, there has been no suspension of limitation periods and procedural time periods. Please stay tuned to the Law Society Notices for any future update.
In the meantime, please refer to the SLIA website for resources to assist, such as the Saskatchewan Limitations Manual and Beat the Clock.
For matters requiring a Court attendance
Follow Court Notices. Work with counsel collaboratively to assist the Court to the best of your abilities. Please see the Inventory of Courts of Saskatchewan and Tribunal Notices and the Inventory of Court Notices Across Canada from the National Self-Represented Litigants Project for more information.
File management plans
Develop a revised file management plan. When considering timelines on your files, consider building in a contingency for potential business interruptions. Also consider that COVID-19 may have impacts not only on the parties, but on others such as witnesses and experts. Consider contacting experts, third party suppliers and others to determine how their situations may affect your current file management strategy. LAWPRO has created a template that may help you build a new or revised file management plan.
Practice Advisors and Tech Support
Also a reminder that practice advisors and tech support are available to assist you. The Practice Advisor Program is available for any members who need help working through practice management issues. Under this program, the practice advisor and member will work together to address the particular issue at no cost to you. In addition, with the advent of COVID-19 and a shift towards a more remote and technologically based practice for many lawyers, Craig Zawada, Q.C. is also available as a resource for questions on technology, whether it involves remote work or otherwise. While Mr. Zawada primarily works through the Practice Advisors and other Law Society staff, he can also be contacted directly with inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encouraged to take advantage of the support and resources provided by the practice advisors and Mr. Zawada and contact them with any questions or concerns about practice standards, management or technology issues.