The Texas Bar Journal recently published an article about how the bar responded to the Spanish Rule between 1918-1920. Written by Mr. Stephen Pate, the article discusses how courts began closing in October 1918, with Tarrant County deciding to close all courts until the “epidemic had subsided”.
Could you imagine the same being done today?
During the epidemic, San Antonio noticed that both the epidemic and military service depleted venire planes. Again, could you imagine trying to emplace a jury where there were not enough jurors?
What is interesting to note from the article is that despite the October 1918 crest, there was a flare up in 1919, but courts were open (although understaffed) and continued to operate.
What does history tell us about today though?
Essentially, we must be able to help each other. The judiciary found a way to have Judges cover matters in various adjacent courts. Though this increased the workload, it allowed justice to continue to operate. Without the wheels of justice continuing to steam along, the Rule of Law may not have been preserved. Today, we have many avenues (arguably a product of Digital Era Governance) that allow for courts to continue along.
Additionally, law firms are finding a way to meet clients and pursue matters with minimal interruption to the level and caliber of service they provide. What might be interesting is whether the proposed Rule 13.05 will allow for solo-practitioner firms to survive COVID-19, like some multi-attorney firms might be able to.
Read the full article from Mr. Pate in the Texas Bar Journal here: https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.barjournals/texbarj0083&i=384