The federal, state and local governments along with the Judicial system are trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are all facing difficult new challenges during this time.
At the Elizabeth Christy Law Firm, we are taking steps to keep our offices sanitized and we advise staff members who do not feel well to stay home. We are implementing recommendations from public health officials regarding maintaining a safe and clean environment for our staff, clients and colleagues.
This is an extraordinary situation that is continuing to change. None of us have ever experienced something like this before and no one has fully planned for this situation. We do not know how everyone will respond. We understand that our clients’ needs do not end just because the world around is changing. We assure you that we will work with you to be there for you as much as we can.
In Oregon, we have been informed that significant restrictions have been put on court operations statewide through at least March 27, 2020. During this time, the court will only have in-person appearances in family law cases for urgent matters such as protective order applications and hearing and immediate danger hearings relating to protecting children from abuse and neglect. All other scheduled hearings and in-person court appearances will be rescheduled. Additionally, each county in Oregon can put additional guidelines in place.
The limited information available from Washington County and Clackamas County indicates they will follow the statewide restrictions outlined above. However, Multnomah County is rescheduling all hearings in family law cases (except for the exceptions discussed above) through April 30, 2020. Those cases will be rescheduled for dates beginning in May 2020.
In Clark County, Washington, we have been informed that starting March 18, 2020 and continuing at least through April 24, 2020 that family law hearings will be cancelled and dockets will be closed. All Settlement Conferences through April 27, 2020 have been administratively cancelled. There will still be options to litigate emergency issues, such as child safety, and agreed orders can still be entered at Ex Parte. The courts in both Washington and Oregon have advised us that this is a fluid situation and guidelines are subject to change.
If you have a hearing scheduled from now through the end of April in either Oregon or Washington, your attorney will be in touch with you regarding how the hearing will be handled. We will continue to work to provide you with timely updates of any additional information that we receive regarding court operations and scheduling.
Our concern for our clients, staff and colleagues remains at the forefront of how we will handle cases and interact with each other during this time. For now, our law firm has decided to suspend all “face to face” meetings with clients, lawyers and other professionals from March 17 through March 27, 2020 unless such a meeting is required due to an emergency or court proceeding. These dates may change based on recommendations from public health officials as well as other local and federal guidelines that may be issued. We will work to accommodate requests for phone consultations or phone meetings in lieu of meeting in person.
Our attorneys and staff will be personally affected by statewide school and daycare closures in Oregon and Washington. We have implemented strategies and planning for employees to work remotely. As we navigate these evolving circumstances, we anticipate that there may be unanticipated or unavoidable delays in our service to clients. Please be assured that we are making every effort to predict and address any significant challenges to our client service posed by the current public health concerns and recommendations. We appreciate your patience and flexibility in this dynamic time. Please be sure to utilize e-mail as the primary means of contacting your lawyer or paralegal team. Phone access may be limited due to remote work arrangements, but e-mails will be checked routinely by attorneys and staff.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by e-mail. If you have an active case, please contact the lawyer and paralegal assigned to your case. If you are looking to be a new client, please direct your initial e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also leave a voicemail via telephone at (360) 695-2005 (for Washington cases) or 503-847-2900 (for Oregon cases). Please just do note that there may be delays returning phone calls for a period of time. We appreciate your patience as we work to respond to all inquiries.
From all of us at the Elizabeth Christy Law Firm, we wish you and your family health, safety and security over the upcoming days and weeks. Although we may not have in person contact with you, we look forward to assisting you the best that we can while keeping your health and safety as our first priority.
If you have any questions that are specific to your case, please do not hesitate to contact our office immediately.