Non Emergency Hearings and Trials Postponed for 30 Days
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the local courts (Bastrop; Hays County; Travis County; and Williamson County) on Friday March 13th, 2020 at approximately 4:30 pm issued notices that effective until April 13th (next 30 days) these courts will be operating on a limited schedule and, in most cases, only scheduling and hearing cases which are emergencies.
For clients who fall into this category, you have already or should have already been notified.
The notice from Travis County states effective Monday March 16th, 2020 that “all non-emergency hearings currently scheduled for the next four weeks are hereby postponed and will need to be rescheduled to a later date through Court Administration”
For your convenience, the link to review the actual emergency order from Travis County is below:
Similar notices were issued by Williamson County and Hays County. For your convenience, the link to review these notices are below (at the time of this publication there was no similar formal notice from Bastrop County):
Accordingly, if your case is set for a hearing or a trial in any of these counties over the course of the next 30 days (and is not an emergency), your trial or hearing is being postponed by Order of the court until a date in the future that the court, opposing counsel, and our office are available.
We realize many of you may have questions as to whether your particular matter is an “emergency” or qualifies as an “emergency hearing”. However, what constitutes an emergency is not defined, but most likely would be limited to matters like protective orders and temporary restraining orders requiring the court’s immediate attention and these will be determined on a case by case basis and in consultation with your attorney.
We are an active litigation firm and we have a number of clients who have had their case impacted by this decision. And, while frustrating, this was clearly completely outside of our control. Please note that our staff and attorneys are immediately and proactively working with the court administration and counsel to reset your case hearing as soon as we possibly can. The attorney responsible for working with your case and/or the paralegal assisting the attorney should be in communication with you by the first part of this week to discuss this and answer any questions you may have.
However, these are the only cases and client matters that are impacted by this Order of the Courts. Otherwise, other than as outlined herein, Evans Family Law Group is and will be operating as normal to meet the needs and demands of our clients, new clients, and prospective clients alike.
Ongoing Business Operations at Evans Family Law Group
The entire team at Evans Family Law Group has met over the weekend to review our emergency plan, policies, and protocol given these unprecedented circumstances. Our practice is largely cloud based and we have equipped all of our staff with internet-based telephones and we can answer and handle telephone calls anywhere we have the internet, just if we are in the office.
In short, we have a very technologically advanced office wherein most if not nearly all of the work serving our clientele and prospective clientele can be done remotely at the same efficient and effective pace and level of service as before.
In light of the concerns related to the virus, however Evans Family Law Group is likewise implementing some common sense precautions so that we can continue to meet the needs of our clientele and prospective clientele. For example, our offices are cleaned nightly by a professional cleaning staff and, while the virus remains a concern, arrangements have been made to have common areas professionally cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.
Appointments and Consultations Available Remotely: Phone or Video
If you are an existing client or a prospective client, for those who may be more susceptible to illnesses or simply have concerns about potential exposure to Coronavirus, we will offer accommodations for appointments and consultations via electronic means such as facetime, zoom or other telephonic or electronic means which we routinely offer our international clientele.
If you are wanting to set a time for a consultation or an appointment with your paralegal or attorney and prefer electronic communication for the time being, please let the staff know when you contact the office to set up your appointment.
For those who wish to visit with a member of our office in-person, just let the staff know at the time you schedule your appointment. However, should our office need to limit or halt in-person appointments, you will immediately be notified.
If you have an appointment in the office in the next 10 – 14 days, please let our staff know if you prefer in person or by electronic means as our staff will be reaching out to you to discuss your preference a we intend to keep all appointments even if by telephonic means.
Mediations, Arbitrations, and Settlement Conferences Available by Phone or Video
Also, for clientele that have mediation or other informal settlement conferences scheduled in the next 30 to 60 days, arrangements are being made to conduct mediations by electronic means and parties may participate through video conferencing if that is preferred. If you have questions about this, please discuss this with your attorney and/or paralegal.
These processes will be in place until the end of March or a date to be determined.
Providing Documents for Your Case Electronically to Evans Family Law Group
For those who are in the process of gathering information related to your case, it is quite easy to share that information with our firm electronically. If you are in need of providing documents, records, or other written based information (including photos, videos, text messages, social media postings, email, audio recordings etc.) please coordinate with the attorney and/or paralegal in that we will establish a “sharefile” upload link for you to upload and provide those documents to us electronically. With this service, there is no limit to the size of data or files so you can easily upload photos, texts, emails, videos, financial statements or other lengthy records.
For records already available to you in electronic format, this is quite easy to do. If not, you may need to scan the documents or upload them and render them in electronic form first.
If you are technology “challenged”, don’t worry just coordinate with your paralegal and our staff will walk you through every step of the way. And, not to worry, as all sharefile links are protected, confidential, and only our staff and you (or someone you give permission) will have access to that information.
Evans Family Law Group Fully Operational
Other than the accommodations mentioned here, Evans Family Law Group will continue to operate business as normal except that our staff will be rotating working remotely and working in the office, in person, as needed and the majority of business will need to be conducted via electronic means or over the phone.
Whether our office doors are open or not, Evans Family Law will continue to represent our clientele as these 30 days limited schedule will not impact the vast majority of our clientele.
Thank you for your patience during this time as we are reacting in real-time with the information being provided.
If you have any questions, please communicate directly with the attorney working with your case and/or the paralegal or, if prefer to discuss your questions or concerns with Mr. Evans directly, feel free to call Mr. Evans’ cell phone at (512) 689-8319.
Jimmy Evans & the Team at Evans Family Law Group
Dina Orona for assistance with Austin Office matters