SC rules of civil procedure switched into geek mode

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This past Friday, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued an extensive emergency order regarding the court system in these unprecedented times.  I’m sure many lawyers breathed a deep sigh of relief when they read the part about automatic extensions to court deadlines:

But the order didn’t pump the brakes on the entire judicial system, either.  Instead, it is encouraging our state bar to — wait for it — use technology!

Some of the key tech-forward features:

  • Hearings, and even non-jury trials, to be conducted using remote communication technology;
  • Administration of oaths via remote communication technology;
  • Recording of court appearances via video instead of via court reporter; and
  • Service of documents on other lawyers via email.

(While not a tech feature, one of my favorite provisions is (c)(4) 🧨, which encourages judges to minimize hearings and rule on written submissions.)

I doubt law practice in South Carolina would have ever embraced technology to this extent absent our current situation.  No one wants this pandemic to linger around, but, in the words of Winston Churchill, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”  I hope the lawyers in our state will embrace this opportunity to master technology that will make us more efficient as practitioners–and ultimately more effective for our clients.

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