In these challenging times presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ranck & Schwartz is adhering to federal and local guidelines to help “flatten the curve.” Consistent with that, our offices are closed to all in-person traffic and we are asking clients and colleagues to limit communications to email and phone, and to avoid physical mailings where possible. But we are still working every day to maintain the highest level of service. Here is what our clients can expect in connection with our three primary practice areas:
In recent weeks, federal and state courts around Wyoming and beyond have issued orders limiting in-person trials and other proceedings. The Wyoming Supreme Court has now created a Coronavirus Updates Page listing relevant court orders and resources for lawyers and litigants. We are staying up to date on all orders impacting our clients across Wyoming in both state and federal court.
In reality, many court proceedings including trials will need to be vacated or continued as a result of the pandemic. But this does not mean justice will be denied. Pleadings may now be filed remotely across Wyoming, and courts and lawyers are working together to accommodate phone and video hearings and depositions using platforms such as “Zoom.” We are committed to exploring all available means to achieve our clients’ goals.
As hearing and trial dates around the state are being vacated or continued, we believe mediation can help “fill in the gaps” and provide litigants an opportunity to air their grievances and achieve a satisfactory resolution where courts are unavailable. We are working to get up to speed on the latest and best practices for online mediations based on guidance from the Center for Understanding Conflict, where Bill first received formal training as a mediator. We are optimistic that mediations can be successfully conducted by video conferencing.
Our appellate practice remains strong and is one that is easily adapted to remote work. The Wyoming Supreme Court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals have both long allowed for e-filing, and while oral arguments have been vacated in certain cases, appellate panels are still capable of issuing timely decisions on the parties’ briefs. With online libraries like Westlaw at our fingertips, there will be no change to the high level of appellate briefing our clients have come to expect.
On a personal note, we regret that we are unable to meet in person with our clients consistent with our typical practice. We will miss your company. But we are only a phone call or email away, and in these trying times more than ever, we hope we can help.