COVID-19 Resources Guide for Lawyers

     corona virus

This guide, a project of the PBA COVID-19 Task Force, provides links to information of assistance to Pennsylvania lawyers.

DISCLAIMER: This information is being issued to inform, not to advise, and should not be considered legal advice. Some information is based on Pennsylvania law. The statements are general, and individual facts in a given case may alter their application or involve other laws not referred to here.

Vaccination information for judges, lawyers and others providing legal assistance

Legal Ethics During COVID-19

Connections to the courts

  • The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania monitors developments about the spread of COVID-19 and their impacts on court operations. The webpage, “UJS Coronavirus Information,” provides frequently updated, comprehensive lists of orders by the Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court and common pleas courts, as well as additional court operations updates.
  • Recently, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, on behalf of its members, raised concerns about the failure to assure compliance with public health guidance concerning mask wearing and social distancing within courtrooms across Pennsylvania.

    In response, Geoff Moulton, Court Administrator of Pennsylvania, conveyed a message sharing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's strong desire that all Commonwealth judges take whatever actions are necessary to assure compliance with applicable guidelines. The relevant CDC guidelines are available here and provide, inter alia, that "Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don't live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain...[K]eep 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing."

    Compliance is particularly important as cases in Pennsylvania have risen significantly in recent weeks...While local conditions and resources vary across the commonwealth, the need to protect all participants while conducting court business does not.

    The Pennsylvania Judiciary has provided updates regarding local court operations and proceedings. The Court continues to monitor developments regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on court operations.
  • By Order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the general statewide judicial emergency declared and maintained in previous Court Orders of March 16, March 18, March 24, April 1 and April 28 ceased as of June 1, 2020. Any previous Orders in this line shall expire according to their own terms.

    The Court communicates regularly with the Governor’s Office and the state Department of Health for guidance on measures to continue protecting the health and safety of court users and court employees.

    Contact your local court for more information or visit their website. Learn more about filing emergency PFAs during this pandemic. You can also learn more about mitigating the spread of the virus at Health.pa.gov.
  • Resuming Jury Trials (Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges) - Check with the County Court Administrator of your court of interest to determine whether this protocol is being followed
  • County of Butler v. Thomas W. Wolf, Ruling finds governor’s COVID-19 order unconstitutional (U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania)
  • The Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System (Orders of the Supreme, Superior, Commonwealth and Common Pleas Courts)
  • Third Circuit Court and District Courts

Reopening guidance for businesses

Federal information and programs to assist small businesses

State information and programs to assist small businesses

Mental health support services for lawyers

CLE resources for lawyers

Articles, blog posts and guidance for lawyers

Legislation and governmental orders of interest to lawyers

DISCLAIMER: The below enacted legislation and orders may be of interest to lawyers but do not necessarily reflect the positions of the PBA.

Pennsylvania (Enacted)

  • Act 1 of 2021 (Senate Bill 109) – addresses COVID-19 relief funding and makes PPP loan forgiveness tax exempt for Pennsylvania tax purposes to match the federal exemption
  • Act 97 of 2020 (House Bill 2370) – provides for remote notarization of all documents on a permanent basis
  • Act 9 (House Bill 68) – makes applying for unemployment compensation easier for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Act 10 (House Bill 1232) – provides $50 million for the purchase of medical equipment and supplies for hospitals, nursing facilities and emergency medical services to meet the urgent needs by patients and staff
  • Act 12 (Senate Bill 422) – reschedules the 2020 primary election from April 28 to June 2 and makes other election process changes, including some due to the COVID-19 emergency
  • Act 13 (Senate Bill 751) – waives the requirement for schools to be in session at least 180 days, provides for continuity of education plans, ensures school employees are paid during the closure, and provides the Secretary of Education with authority to waive student teacher and standardized assessments.
  • Act 15 (Senate Bill 841) permits remote notarization of all documents and municipalities to meet remotely by telecommunications device during the COVID-19 disaster emergency after meeting certain requirements; Act 15 further permits local governments to provide greater flexibility on property tax deadlines.

Pennsylvania (Pending)

 

Federal (Enacted)

Governmental orders

Information for law students and recent law school graduates

COVID-19 resources by subject area

Agriculture

Children's Rights

Discrimination and Racism

Education

Municipal Government

Probate

Solo and Small Firm Practice

Workers’ Compensation

Pro bono service during the crisis


 

 

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