In these uncertain times due to Covid-19, we wanted to send a message out to our clients and potential clients to let you all know that we are here for you, to tell you that our firm is “open” and running, and we are working diligently to move your cases forward, at a time when most firms are closed or having difficulty working remotely.
Our team at Schurmer & Wood has had a system in place for several years now which allows us to access our case files remotely, without having to be in the office. So even though our physical office is closed to the public, our attorneys and our staff are all working remotely during the statewide closure and stay at home order.
How is it possible for attorneys and staff to work from home?
At Schurmer and Wood, our office has been paperless for several years now. Though we also maintain paper files, each and every case has a corresponding digital file that matches the paper file. Every single piece of case-related mail is scanned into our server and added to the individual’s digital case file using a practice management software program that our attorneys and staff have access to remotely.
Our case workers will continue to contact clients regarding their residuals and treatment status, and to the extent the doctor’s offices are still meeting with patients—either in person or via teleconference—will continue scheduling client appointments on their behalf. The pre-litigation assistants will continue to request medical records both digitally and by regular mail and will continue working up each and every case file.
Our attorneys are able to essentially do everything they could do at the office at home, with the exception of trying cases or making court appearances. Depositions—to the extent the deponent has the ability to comply and opposing counsel agrees—can be conducted by way of Zoom Meeting or similar service.
Our attorneys will also be propounding (sending out) and responding to written discovery as they work from home. Other tasks include legal research, writing demand letters to insurance companies, sending out CCP 998 offers to compromise, communicating with opposing counsel in attempts to resolve cases, and even mediating cases with mediators that have agreed to do virtual mediations.
What do I need to do going forward?
Know that your case is being handled, even during these uncertain times. Though the courts are closed and all cases with events scheduled in the next 90 days will have their court-related events moved, our attorneys are working remotely and will stay on track with written discovery and active settlement negotiations.
To the extent the client is able to access a computer, we may even be conducting video depositions by using technology such as Zoom. We will be meeting with clients through Zoom video or FaceTime to get authority to resolve cases. Put simply, though the courts are closed, that does not mean our work stops.
Unless you are contacted by your attorney, there is nothing for you to do during this time. Our office will keep you apprised of any rescheduling of depositions, mediations or Mandatory Settlement Conferences (MSCs). To the extent we need to get information from you to respond to written discovery, we will send a discovery questionnaire by mail or email and will schedule a telephone conference with you if you need any assistance answering the questions.
We are encouraging our clients to provide our office with their email, so we can correspond with you by email as well. Please contact Krystal Corona at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add your email to our system. If you do not have access to email—not to worry—we can of course still communicate with you by phone or mail.
How can potential clients get a free consultation?
If you or a loved on has been involved in an accident and need to meet with an attorney for a free consultation, please call our office at 805-981-0764 to speak with an intake specialist. We will then have an attorney or team member set up a time to “meet” with you by phone, Facetime or Zoom meeting. To the extent we take your case and you decide you would like Schurmer and Wood to handle your case, we can send over the necessary documents by email or regular mail. Then when the Covid-19 stay at home order is lifted, we will schedule a time to meet with us face-to-face.
We thank you so much for your cooperation and wish you all health and wellness during these difficult times. Please, stay at home to help combat the spread of the virus, and use this time to connect with loved ones, spend time with your children and exercise self care.
Earl Schurmer and Lauren Wood