Link To Guest Website: https://www.tbhr-law.com
Title: “Hearings Returning To In-Person Settings”
Guest: Mark Furman – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC
Click here to read the transcript
Well, hello, everybody out there in entrepreneur land. My name is Jeffrey Davis, and this is Radio Entrepreneurs. We’ve had thousands of stories, probably over 7,000 stories over the years and over a million people connect with us in over 28 countries. So we’re quite proud of that and we’re just starting to get a lot more viewership, believe it or not in great Britain. And we’re pretty excited about that. And I guess I have to thank our producer Nathan gulps for that every week since the start we have tried to speak with Mark Furhman a director of Tarlow Breed Hart and Rogers about entrepreneurship and the law. Welcome back, mark.
Hi there, Jeffery. Great to be with you, right.
Thank you, mark. Mark. Did you have to wear a tie yesterday for the first time in almost two years?
Well, actually I I’ve had a warrior ties in the past because all of our court hearings have been by zoom. And until yesterday where the courts here in Massachusetts are open and I had first hearing in-person yesterday and it was a very different experience. And I thought I’d just talk about a little bit. First of all, the courtroom, the reconfiguration of the courtroom has changed their plexiglass separating the lawyers, the judge, the clerk, the, you know, so there’s a lot of COVID precautions that have been taken in the physical structure of the courtroom.
Mark (1m 39s):
And then it’s so different to stand up in person and, and argue, in this case, I was defending three clients who had been sued relating to a sale of a business and, and the plaintiffs were seeking a real estate attachment. I was opposing it and the presence is so different in person, you know, and I want to say I wasn’t uncomfortable being in person.
Mark (2m 19s):
And the things that struck me were one, the intimacy of being in person, even though it’s a good size courtroom, the ability to communicate with your hands, with your body, it’s different than being on a video screen. And it was particularly nice because we had our designated time. So there was no waiting involved. There was a two 30 hearing and it was set aside just for our case. That is not how things frequently work pre COVID.
Mark (3m 4s):
So we were actually the only case in the courtroom. The other thing I think that gets lost is, you know, as you know, relationships are important and when you go to court on zoom, you are removed from any real contact with the other lawyer. And that was striking to me yesterday because being in court waiting a few minutes for our case to be heard. And then after court, I was able to talk to the lawyer about the case.
Mark (3m 45s):
And as you would expect, tell him was the lawyer on the other side, how awful a case he had. But I also was able to, I think, create a little bit of a re the beginning of a relationship, which is very important in a case because you have to work things out as you fight. So the human connection, I think, gets lost a little bit during COVID when you’re doing everything by on zoom. So, you know, we wore our mask, we talked in the hallway and I was just struck by how different it is.
Mark (4m 36s):
So at the end of the hearing, I asked the judge, you know, what’s the plan? Cause the, the hearing before us was on zoom, there’s a scheduling conference. So it wasn’t, it was a more collegial hearing as opposed to the argument we were having. And the judge said, as far as she’s concerned, hearing should be in person because of the interaction between the parties, their lawyers. And I think she said something like a lot of business gets done, a lot gets accomplished in the hallways and courtrooms and people are together that just won’t get done.
Mark (5m 28s):
If, if it’s everybody just logs in for zoom call. So it was a major, a major event for me because it’s another indication of hopefully return to normalcy. Cause this is what I’ve done for a long, long, long time. And to go walk into a courtroom for the first time and 16 months, it’s quite different in a frankly encouraging,
Jeffrey (6m 1s):
Well, you know, it, it’s sort of, you know, you’ve been practicing law a long time. I won’t date you, you haven’t hit your expiration date yet, but it was, it was it kind of like being a rookie again, going back, was there a little bit of feelings going on as you entered the courthouse emotions?
Mark (6m 18s):
Yeah. Well, it’d been so long since I’d been in a courthouse, you know, I’ve spent a lot of time in courthouses in my work over the years, and I didn’t know if I’d ever get back in a courthouse or courtroom or argue in person. So yeah, there, there was, there was a feeling about it, but it was a good feeling and exhilarating, exhilarating feeling that cause it is different. It’s less artificial. And there’s, I think a greater opportunity to communicate when you’re in person, was
Jeffrey (7m 6s):
The client present or there was no client present.
Mark (7m 12s):
One of the clients was present in the courtroom and my client was not, my client was an out of state. The defendants were out of state
Jeffrey (7m 25s):
That facilitate the process by half by again, having the client present as well. Does it, in other words, does, you know, when they talk about in psychology that the art of the act of aggression is easier when there’s less personal. So I’m wondering the closer you get towards being with people together, are they more likely to settle? Because again, cause, cause there’s cause there’s people involved again, you can see them, you can feel them.
Mark (7m 54s):
Yeah. Well, I, I think we rely on lawyers, rely on each other to communicate with their clients and get a sense of what their goals interests are and to talk through the case it’s marriage and, and challenges. So I think that’s the main thing. There’s seldom any client interaction and lawyers aren’t able to talk to the other side, if they’re represented by counsel, what having an in-person hearing did mean that, you know, my clients were not able to observe the here.
Mark (8m 40s):
So that’s a negative and another negative of course is, you know, it, it ends up being a half a day to, you know, in this case it was a over one hour to court and you have to account for traffic. So by the time you get done, you’ve spent several hours as opposed to on zoom. You, you know, you log on 10 minutes ahead of time just to make sure everything’s okay and you do your thing and then you’re done.
Mark (9m 25s):
So it costs less money for the clients and for the lawyers. It, because it takes less time, you fall less behind on other matters that you’re working on, which I think helps get your work done earlier than if you’ve spent four or five hours on some kind of commuting situation. So there are advantages and disadvantages, but I was struck by the, the feeling that the presentation is better.
Mark (10m 8s):
The interaction with the judge is better. And the ability to communicate with the other side is a hundred times better. And that those are real positives, but from a cost point of view and the ability of the client to participate remotely, those are, those are real negatives, right? So where I think so I think zoom hearings have proven to me that can more, but if you, if, if you have a situation that isn’t just decided on the papers where there has to be evidence and people’s sworn in and direct exam and cross exam, I mean, I think zoom should be eliminated for all of that stuff, but for legal arguments where people file affidavits and it’s argued and decided on the papers like yesterday’s hearing, I think zoom will work and in-person will work.
Mark (11m 20s):
But I think maybe I lost sight of the, some of the significant advantages of in person. So I rediscovered them yesterday, but
Jeffrey (11m 30s):
I assume things are going to continue to evolve as 26 states are now increasing their COVID numbers. And we have new variants, you know, as we go into the fall and winter we’re, hopefully Massachusetts will stay at the high level that we’re at, but we are a little bubble and a big country. So I assume everything is going to tend to new, to evolve. We don’t know what the next year is going to bring for all of us. We’re just going to try to be optimistic. But if someone’s looking for you mark for good counsel with how to handle these situations, how would they find
Mark (12m 5s):
You? I can be reached at 6 1 7 2 1 8 2 0 2 5. That’s my direct line. And my email address is M Furman, F U R M a N at T B, hr-law.com. Oh, great
Jeffrey (12m 25s):
Mark. Thank you very much. And remind everybody we seam and speak with mark Berman every week on Radio Entrepreneurs. It’s entrepreneurship in the law, pretty hard to escape the two. They are married together in today’s world of business. Thanks again, mark.
Mark (12m 39s):
Thank you, Jeffrey. Thank
Jeffrey (12m 40s):
You. Remind everybody. This is Radio Entrepreneurs.
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