There is some talk in the news about being prepared for “serious disruptions” in our lives if the Coronavirus (Covid-19) starts spreading in the community. There is even more talk behind closed doors. Everyone I know who is responsible for their own business is considering options or actively planning for a reality where we are being encouraged to stay home and not gather in public.
I don’t know what will happen or when it will happen. What I do know is that we are living in a very different world then we were even a few years ago. The Bankruptcy courthouse routinely allows out -of-town attorneys to attend hearings by telephone. Video conferencing is now cheap, easy and completely doable from a phone. Electronic signatures are not only a thing, they can be legally binding. Electronic document transfers and payments have become common. It is not, however, common for a lawyer to file a bankruptcy for a client without substantial face-to-face contact; and there are some good reasons for that. That doesn’t mean those reasons can’t change.
Now, let’s get real. If the Governor tells everybody who can to stay home on Friday — I’m taking a snow day. If he asks everyone who can to stay home as much as possible for the next few weeks — I will be conducting business from my desk at home, and those biases built into our system in favor of in person consults instead of digital consults will just have to adapt.
So, I can’t tell you if you will get sick. I can’t tell you what impact this will have on your income, your expenses or your ability to pay your bills. What I can tell you is that if you need to file for bankruptcy, defend a collection case, or deal with errors on your credit report — we will find a way.