When the world took a pause

Opinion: Columns

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Elizabeth A. Kaveny

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When I started practicing law, I spent some time at my desk or on a computer, but I spent most of my time in the library with a yellow pad. So much so that my mother was convinced there was a store named The Library. There was no internet. There were no search engines. There was no Lexis or Westlaw or remote research. Reading the law in books in the library was all I knew … and I got by just fine.

Obviously, over the last 25 years, technology has evolved. It has forever changed the practice of law. COVID-19 has forced us to rely on technology even more. Today, all of my interviews, meetings, and depositions are now done via Zoom. I am dictating remotely to a legal assistant who is at home. Courts are closed but we are still seeking justice for our clients, albeit by telephone with judges. 

In the presence of this pandemic, we are all confronted with navigating the new "normal." The legal system is not the only area that has had to evolve and adapt. We, as a community, have had to alter and modify our lives. Curbside pickup, social-distancing, face masks, and frequently washing hands remain a constant in our changed lives. Yet only part of this new normal is in the "doings" of our everyday lives. Perhaps the greater challenge is psychological. You cannot turn on a television or read the internet without seeing the turmoil going on in our country as a result of the coronavirus. 

In these uncertain times, it is easy to question and be concerned about our future. With all the concerns over COVID-19, the fear of "what comes next?" looms large in the minds of many.

As one whose vocation is to uphold the justice system, I feel certain that society will prevail after we reshape and rebuild our lives even in these troubling times. While we may think the future is unknown and while we may question where and when re-entry will occur, I believe some facets of our future can be predicted with a level of certainty.

To many, it looks like the whole world hit pause. The legal system has not. Today we face a number of battlefronts, separate from and amidst the pandemic itself. These battles are being played out in the streets of our cities and towns and broadcast to us all through the media.

People versus the government. Unions versus the government. States versus Federal. Stay-at-home versus re-entry.

Yet I'm here to remind you that there has been and continues to be, one constant throughout the history of our great country. In these uncertain times, the very backbone of our justice system is a certainty on which we can depend.

Justice will prevail when this pandemic ends … it always has and always will. And consequently so will we as a people united under it.

Longtime River Forest resident Elizabeth A. Kaveny is managing partner of Kaveny + Kroll Trial Lawyers (www.kavenykroll.com).

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