Cal. Litig. 2021, Volume 34, Number 2


By Benjamin G. Shatz

Benjamin G. Shatz, Editor-in-Chief of this journal, is a certified Specialist in Appellate Law and Co-chairs the Appellate Practice Group of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, in Los Angeles.

After a year and a half, it seems like the light at the end of tunnel is within reach. Although I have not been inside my Century City office since Friday, March 13, 2020, I’m expecting to return sometime … soonish. I hope that a moldy cup of coffee will not be there to greet me, and I wonder what other surprises might have developed in an untouched space over such a long period. I hope you all weathered COVID-19 well and are having an easy transition to our new normal. What might that brave new world be like? Several articles in this issue attempt to answer that question. PPP no longer stands for Paycheck Protection Program, but Post-Pandemic Planning.

We begin with a piece on Jury Trials in the COVID-19 Era by Stuart Purdy, emphasizing the importance of a predetermined trial plan. Then Judge Sam McAdam explores how Yolo County Superior Court coped with the pandemic, and, more importantly, what lies ahead in The Future of the Virtual Courthouse. Next, retired Judge Allan Goodman (an Editorial Board member of this journal) prescribes Remedies for the Courthouse Flu: How to Get Your Civil Case Tried During the COVID-19 Crisis. Spoiler alert: He’s a fan of references under Code of Civil Procedure section 638 as way to address the backlog. Finally, Gary London ponders post-pandemic properties, i.e., commercial realty, in The Once and Future Office Market. In his view, hundreds of thousands of California workers are likely to continue working away from the office because … well, it works. To the extent they were not already there, lawyers are likely to jump on that bandwagon. Indeed, even before the pandemic, we probably all knew a lawyer who habitually worked remotely. Henceforth, such arrangements will be banal, not intriguing.

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