Family Law

Family Law News Issue 2, 2020, Volume 42, No. 2

The Case for a Harmonized California Court System

David M. Lederman, CFLS

David M Lederman is a Past Chair of the State of California Bar Association, Family Law Section (FLEXCOM), Past Legislation Chair for FLEXCOM, and the Current Technology Director for the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists; current President Elect for the Contra Costa Family Law Section and is rated as a SuperLawyer by Mr. Lederman is a frequent lecturer on family law topics and speaks Mandarin Chinese.

On March 13, 2020,1 I was conferring with a clerk of the Contra Costa family court regarding an order I needed to pick up. Advised that the order was ready, I said thank you and I’d have someone pick it on Monday. The response I received was that I had better send someone to pick it up that day because the court would be closed the following Monday. "Excuse me?" That was my notice of court closure. As a practitioner in Contra Costa County with a busy hearing/ trial schedule, I learned that all of my hearings and trials were going to be vacated. Following this notice, the courts struggled. On March 16, 2020, the Director of Health Services for Contra Costa County issued its order to shelter at home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued his statewide order that "all individuals living in the state of California… stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal infra-structure sectors…."

By Monday the 16th my office was 100% virtual, staff members were instructed to work remotely from home, the phone system was forwarded to mobile phones, and we had continuity of operations. Our infrastructure was designed to be scalable and untethered to physical geography. Our data exists on a secure cloud data farm. There was no difference in our access to internal systems and resources – we literally turned off the lights in our physical offices and reopened as a virtual firm the next day.

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