The following message was distributed by the Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday, March 19:
We know this is a stressful and uncertain time for you, your colleagues, your clients, your firms, and your communities. We want to assure you that the Indiana Supreme Court and the Office of Judicial Administration—like all of you—are taking appropriate steps to respond to this public health emergency while making sure that essential court operations continue statewide. In particular:
- All trial courts have been ordered to work with their county emergency management agencies and health departments to implement their Continuity of Operations Plans and petition the Supreme Court to carry out operational changes—such as postponing jury trials, suspending deadlines, allowing for remote hearings, and minimizing non-essential access at court facilities—through Administrative Rule 17.
- OJA is working quickly through its Office of Admissions and Continuing Education to address our regulatory framework, which dictates the amount of in-person versus online continuing legal education hours. We will engage our state’s Bar Associations in making sure distance education can be championed as we all take necessary social distancing measures.
- Our electronic filing systems and your active usage of them have allowed many portions of the modern legal practice to continue remotely. Just since March 9, there have been about 210,000 filings in our trial and appellate courts.
Please familiarize yourself with the Indiana Supreme Court’s public webpage on COVID-19 Responses and Resources. Our Office of Communication, Education, and Outreach intends to update the website at about 9:00am EDT and 3:00pm EDT each workday with additional resources and orders granting county emergency petitions. Please also contact your local courts for specific details on the status of county facilities.
We belong to a profession which brings stress every day in the best of times, whether we are law students, practitioners, or members of the judiciary. So please remember to prioritize your health and well-being, along with the health and well-being of your families, colleagues, and friends. The Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program is available to support you as always. Call confidentially, 317-833-0370 or review their list of online supports.
We continue to work with all of our justice partners and stakeholders throughout the state, including the Indiana State Bar Association, local bar associations, executive branch agencies, and many others to ensure that we are all doing our best to respond to these ever-changing and challenging circumstances. Thank you for your continuing hard work and commitment to the legal profession in Indiana.
Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush
Justin P. Forkner
Chief Administrative Officer