The legal profession and essential worker guidelines
Message from Missouri Bar President Tom Bender
Lawyers have always been at the forefront in the protection of others. In these times, that protection takes on a different twist as protecting others means maintaining all safe practices and, wherever possible, performing duties remotely so as to keep lawyers, their families and the public safe.
There may be circumstances, however, where the professional discharge of a lawyer’s duties cannot be performed remotely. Emergencies arise daily and families and businesses sometimes need services that cannot be provided outside of the offices or the courts. The Missouri Bar believes legal services are critical to the operations of our judiciary and, in turn, to improving the lives of Missouri citizens, especially in times of crisis. Lawyers, as officers of the court, and their necessary staff fulfill the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” list of essential workers as “workers supporting the operations of the judicial system.”
Please work remotely wherever possible and do not substitute convenience for necessity. But if you in your professional judgment feel that remote services cannot be rendered, please follow all best practices to help make sure this epidemic ends soon and that you, your families, and your communities remain safe and healthy.
Tom Bender, 2019-20 Missouri Bar President