The following information has been collected from both public and private sources to provide members of the legal community with resources to assist in the practice of law during the pandemic. If you have a resource you would like share please email information to tbatoday@tnbar.org.

ABA - The ABA has this review of legal and historical context for government authorities to quarantine foreign arrivals, force businesses to close and require residents to stay home in a health emergency and has issued a Legal Fact Check on how COVID-19 is raising questions and legal challenges about employers’ actions related to keeping their workplace safe, and workers’ rights to seek reasonable accommodation under federal and state law. On April 7, the ABA Board of Governors approved a resolution urging states to adopt emergency rules authorizing limited practice with lawyer supervision for recent law school graduates if the pandemic causes cancellations of July bar exams.

Pandemic Task Force - The ABA announced on March 13 that it is creating a nationwide task force to identify the legal needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, make recommendations to address those needs, and help mobilize volunteer lawyers and legal professionals for people who need help. On April 3, the task force announced it has launched a new website with resources. Read an interview in Law360.com with task force chair Jim Sandman about how he thinks the pandemic will affect the legal industry.

Coordinating Group on Practice Forward - The ABA announced on May 13 that it is creating a group to provide thought leadership on emerging challenges and opportunities facing the legal profession and justice system due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group will “look beyond the pandemic for innovations and new ways of providing legal services and delivering justice.” It also will coordinate the dissemination of resources.

Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar - On May 15, the section council endorsed a rules change that would allow it to enact short-term, emergency policies and procedures for law schools to allow more than one-third of credits to be taught online. The change will need to be approved by the ABA House of Delegates at its Annual Meeting in August before taking effect. The ABA Journal has the details.

Young Lawyers Division - The ABA YLD has resources for lawyers and law firms responding to a disaster or pandemic. On April 6, it joined with RingCentral Inc. to announce a national toll-free hotline to connect its Disaster Legal Services Program with those with legal needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Above the Law - The publication has launched a new podcast on how COVID-19 is affecting the legal profession. It also has released results of a survey conducted with Major, Lindsey & Africa to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on law firms are now available. The report offers a detailed picture of how law firms and individual associates are coping with the ongoing disruption and the prospect of lasting change.

Bloomberg Law - Bloomberg has created a special resource page In Focus: Coronavirus, which offers news, guidance documents and federal agency information.

CQ.com - The legislative and policy news source has a Coronavirus Pandemic page that offers documents, transcripts, breaking news and more. Headlines can be viewed by anyone but access to the documents requires a subscription. CQ’s Fiscal Note offers a free nightly COVID-19 podcast and daily newsletter.

Fastcase - TBA’s Member Advantage partner Fastcase announced on March 26 that it has joined with “like-minded companies” to create the free Fastcase Peer Resource Center for COVID-19 with the  goal of providing legislative and government updates as well as information about how COVID-19 is impacting the legal community. Other partners include Docket Alarm, Law Street Media, ALM (publisher of The American Lawyer, Law.com, Legal Week and others), American Immigration Lawyers Association and SKOPOS Legislative Tracker.

Knoxville Bar Association - The KBA has created this page to provide updates related to the COVID-19 virus. It also has a page dedicated to helping businesses deal with workplace issues associated with the pandemic. It also has launched “Reflections,” a section of its COVID-19 web resources to gather stories of how the pandemic is affecting lawyers. The site allows members to share knowledge and commiserate over the rapidly changing legal environment. Email information to Marsha Watson.

Law Student Support for COVID-19 Cases - Attorneys across the country are working to ensure that those impacted by COVID-19 have access to appropriate legal services. In support of those efforts, a group of 300 law students, paralegals, and student paralegals have offered to provide remote pro-bono support. Examples of projects include research regarding paid leave policies, drafting for bail motions or supporting efforts to seek release from immigration custody. Attorneys interested in receiving student support on COVID-19 related matters should sign up here.  Students interested in providing support should sign up here. Questions or concerns should be directed to Alyssa Leader, a student helping coordinate the pro bono effort.

Law.com - A free COVID-19 news site provides updates on law firm and court decisions to close or stay open and tips for working from home from remote lawyers.

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands - The group has launched a weekly Facebook Live show to answer frequently asked legal questions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LexBlog -  The legal publishing platform has launched a site that aggregates coronavirus blog posts from its network. Issues include legislative and regulatory developments, legal issues relating to the pandemic, court actions, practice guidance and other legal developments.

Lexis Nexis - The Lexis Practice Advisor® Coronavirus Resource Kit addresses emerging issues related to coronavirus across a variety of practice areas.

Lexis Nexis & BakerHostetler - Critical Legal Issues for U.S. Businesses & Their Counsel: A Free 3-Part Webinar. Each episode is approx. 45 minutes long. Topics are:

Part 1 - Managing Business Continuity Impacts to the Workforce and Workplace
Part 2 - Navigating Challenges in Corporate Governance & Transactions
Part 3 - A Primer for Health Care Providers and Life Sciences Companies

Memphis Bar Association - The MBA has created this page to provide updates about courts in Western Tennessee as well as coronavirus screening questions for attorneys entering the jail to speak to clients. The association also is taking a poll of members to see how the pandemic is affecting law practices. Submit your responses here.

My Shingle.com - Solo & Small Firm Practice In A Time of Corona Virus webinar covers issues such as the CARES Act and how to market in a sensitive way during challenging times.

Nashville Bar Association - The NBA has updates from courts in Davidson County and federal courts in the Middle District of Tennessee as well as interviews with local judges on how the pandemic is affecting court operations.

National Center for State Courts - The NCSC has resources for state courts navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Federation of Independent Businesses (Tennessee) - Website includes resources for small businesses.

Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts - The Administrative Office of the Court has compiled resources to help state court judges prepare and navigate the coronavirus or other public health crises.

Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services - TALS and Help4TN have created this COVID-19 site with information about basic civil legal issues arising during this time.

Tennessee Bar Association CLE - Tennessee Law in the Time of Pandemic Disease is a one-hour CLE produced by the TBA and offered free to the legal community.  The presentation looks at the latest information on what Tennessee lawyers need to know about the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics include relevant state statutory provisions, applicable regulations and rights under quarantine or isolation. See other CLE offerings in the TBA's on-demand webcast series "Navigating the Pandemic."

Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development - The agency's website offers resources for small businesses, employers and employees, including guidance on Small Business Administration loans.

Thomson Reuters - Offers a Practical Law Global Coronavirus Toolkit that includes practice notes, standard documents, checklists, and other resources covering a range of public health emergency and disaster preparedness topics. All resources within the COVID-19 section are available free of cost. Also has a free webinar “Legal Considerations in Responding to COVID-19” available on demand.

U.S. Congress - The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship offers this Q & A summary of the Paycheck Protection Act while the Congressional Research Services has this in-depth analysis of the tax provisions in the CARES Act.

U.S. Department of Labor - The department has issued initial information about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers, which provides new emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid Family and Medical Leave Act benefits.

Wills: Holographic Option - In an effort to provide estate planning lawyers with a simple means of providing a client with a will that does not require a complicated remote signing and notarization procedure, this holographic will could be sent to a client with instructions that all blanks should be completed in the client’s handwriting. See In re Estate of Spencer, 23 TAM 37-64, holding that filling in a preprinted form in the deceased’s own hand is an effective holographic will if all the dispositive provisions are in the deceased’s sole handwriting. A more formal document then can be witnessed and notarized at a later date. Each attorney should talk to his/her client about effectiveness.

Wills: Executive Order Option - On April 9, Gov. Bill Lee issued Executive Order No. 26 suspending current law to facilitate remote notarization and witnessing of documents. The order temporarily suspends all statutes requiring a physical presence for a notary public and witness(es), under certain conditions such as real-time audio and visual communication including Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, etc., among others. Read more. (Note that some attorneys are concerned that Executive Order 26 goes beyond the scope of the governor’s authority under the emergency management powers and, absent legislative intervention, documents executed pursuant to the Order could be subject to litigation. Furthermore, the conditions set forth in the EO must be carefully followed.) Read more about how to utilize remote witnessing and notarization in this article in the Tennessee Bar Journal.


Disclaimer: This information is offered as a service to the legal community. Statements or opinions expressed by any of the companies or organizations cited do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff. The TBA does not directly or impliedly endorse, support or vouch for the authenticity of any representations made.