COVID-19 Impact on Pittsburgh Legal Community

The Allegheny County Bar Association’s top priority is the health and safety of our members, staff and the general public. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the ACBA is exercising extreme caution in an effort to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

However, the organization is fully functional as employees work remotely to fulfill our commitment to serve the Pittsburgh legal community. ACBA members should feel free to reach out to ACBA staff as needed.

Additionally, the ACBA is committed to keeping the Pittsburgh legal community informed about how the COVID-19 crisis is impacting the courts, the Bar Association and the profession. The ACBA will publish the Sidebar e-newsletter more frequently than usual as news and information dictates. Look for updates on Facebook at and on Twitter @AlleghenyCoBar. Extended coverage can be found in the Lawyers Journal newspaper.

  • All ACBA Meetings, Events Online Through Dec. 31
    As the ACBA prioritizes the health and safety of members, staff and the public at large, all events, meetings and CLEs will be held remotely through Dec. 31.

  • Committee, Division and Section Events Held Remotely
    While in-person events are on hold, ACBA Committee, Division and Section events are continuing to be held remotely via Zoom video conference. Chairs may also opt to hold events and/or meetings by conference call. ACBA staff liaisons will share conference call information, zoom login information and other materials. For a list of upcoming events and meetings, visit the ACBA Calendar.

  • Substantive Practice Area Town Hall Meetings
    As a way to help members adjust to these unprecedented times, the ACBA held a series of practice area-specific Town Hall Meetings. The virtual events, held via Zoom, enabled attorneys to discuss impacts, best practices and resources specifically relative to that practice area. Recordings of the Town Hall Meetings that have been held thus far are available as resources for all members.

  • Online and Webinar CLEs
    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that attorneys can earn all 12 of their credits online during 2020, given the Coronavirus situation. The ACBA is scheduling live webinar CLEs where members can earn distance learning credits in real time. The schedule of upcoming webinar CLEs can be viewed at the ACBA Calendar. Additionally, the ACBA has more than 85 online CLEs, featuring some of the most popular offerings from dozens of practice areas presented during the past year, available 24/7 at the ACBA Online CLE Center. The ACBA is continually evaluating the situation and will begin to hold in-person CLEs again when it is safe to do so.

  • Pittsburgh Legal Journal
    The ACBA will continue publishing the Pittsburgh Legal Journal, the official legal journal of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, online three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) for the foreseeable future. You need a subscription to access the Pittsburgh Legal Journal. To subscribe, click here.

    President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark has ordered these changes in the interest of public health. Judge Clark also specified in her order that proofs of publication for legal ads in the Pittsburgh Legal Journal may be verified and signed by a notary public only, instead of a notary public and affiant as is typically required. In addition, the proofs of publication may be mailed or emailed.

    Please do not send hard copy mail to the ACBA’s Koppers Building address. As the ACBA adheres to social distancing guidelines, employees are not regularly working in the office. The ACBA has three convenient ways to submit legal notices.

  • Lawyers Journal
    The Lawyers Journal newspaper – the ACBA’s flagship publication containing news on the legal community, ACBA happenings and substantive legal articles – will continue to be published as normal, every-other Friday and delivered to members through the mail. It is also available on the ACBA website and through the ACBA Sidebar e-newsletter.
  • Allegheny Co. Court of Common Pleas Emergency through Dec. 31
    The Allegheny Co. Court of Common Pleas is operating under judicial emergency status through Dec. 31, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For specifics on court operations and procedures during the judicial emergency, visit the Court of Common Pleas Website. Click here for a Nov. 20 order, containing updates on the court’s procedures.

  • Civil Division Trials to be Mediated
    Unless otherwise noted, all cases on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Civil Division trial list shall be mediated through the court’s new Pro Bono Mediation Program. For a list of court-appointed mediators, click here.

  • Civil Jury Trial FAQ
    The Allegheny County Civil Jury Trial Task Force has compiled a FAQ to help attorneys understand the recent changes in court procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Court of Common Pleas Non-Jury Trials Resume
    Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas non-jury trials, which had been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, may proceed as remote non-jury trials, provided the trials meet specific criteria. For additional specifics on the process and criteria, click here to see the order.

  • Civil Division Jury Trial Change
    The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas has amended its Emergency Operations plan regarding the process Civil Division jury trials. To read the full order from President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark click here.

  • Jury Trials Resume in Court of Common Pleas
    Criminal and Civil Division trials have resumed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.Click here for the full order.

  • Landlord-Tenant Actions Resume
    Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark has ordered that landlord-tenant actions may resume, pursuant to the applicable statutes and rules governing those actions. Detailed landlord-tenant procedures can be found here.

  • Certain Criminal Division Proceedings have Resumed
    Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Kim Berkeley Clark has ordered that certain proceedings in the Criminal Division are being held in person while others will continue to be held remotely. To read the full order, click here.

  • Positive Cases of COVID-19 in Court System
    Click here for a full listing of positive COVID-19 cases in the Allegheny County Court System that have been reported to the ACBA.

  • Masks Required in Pennsylvania Courts
    The July 1 Pennsylvania order requiring all individuals in the state to wear masks when leaving home applies to activities in court houses and other government facilities. The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, with very limited exceptions. For additional information, click here.

  • Remote Notarization, Municipal Meetings Authorized
    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law legislation allowing remote notarization of all documents and municipalities to meet remotely. Click here to read the legislation.

  • Pa. Court Operations by County
    For a county-by-county breakdown of changes to court operations and proceedings across Pennsylvania, click here.

  • U.S. District Court Adjusting Procedures
    The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania is adjusting procedures, including changing the protocol for initial criminal procedures, changing the procedures regarding jury trials and certain other proceedings and adjusting the process for the computation of time for filing of information and indictments. For additional information, visit the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania website.

  • Swear In Witnesses Remotely
    Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered that court reporters can swear in witnesses remotely and without an affidavit signed by counsel. To read the whole order, click here.

  • Live Webinar CLEs ‘Count’ as Live CLEs in 2021
    All synchronous live webinar CLE programs will “count” as live CLE credits in 2021, per the PA CLE Board. Click here for the full announcement.
  • CDC Information Center
    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a information center, including guidelines on protecting yourself and steps to take if you are sick, available online here.

  • Allegheny County Health Department
    For specific local information on the COVID-19 outbreak, the Allegheny County Health Department as launched a dedicated resource page, as well as a “rumor control” webpage dedicated to controlling misinformation about the virus.

  • Guide for Returning to Office
    Our partners at USI Affinity have prepared a “How to Guide for Recovery of Operations” designed to help firms and organizations implement plans to re-open offices.

  • Practice Resources from Thomson Reuters
    Thomson Reuters has launched a free Coronavirus toolkit, with resources specifically designed for attorneys. The online hub is updated daily and contains analysis of Federal and state legislation, templates and other tools for numerous jurisdictions, access to the CLEAR platform, which helps municipalities and others location residents who might be at risk, and more. Click here to visit the resource center.

  • CARES Act and Other Financial Resources
    The CARES Act is designed to stimulate the economy and help small businesses – including law firms – to stabilize during these uncertain times.

      • The ACBA Insurance Partners at USI Affinity have compiled resources to help members navigate the CARES Act and other federal stimulus funds available. USI’’s Small Business Guide and Checklist is available here. For USI’s tips on getting your small business load approved faster, click here. For USI’s Webinar on the CARES Act, click here.

      • The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship’s Owners Guide to the CARES Act is available here.

      • The ACBA’s Government Relations partners at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has developed resource guides for navigating Pennsylvania COVID-19 legislation and for navigating the CARES Act and other Federal Legislation.

      • The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business has published an FAQ document make this a link to the pdf attached on various state resources available to help small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus. The Chamber covers loans for small businesses, guidance on which businesses are exempt from closure mandates, unemployment information and more. For more detail, visit the Chamber’s online resource center.

      • Gov. Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvania is offering financial assistance to small businesses through the state’s Working Capital Access Program. Click here for more information.

  • DOL Resources
    The U.S. Department of Labor has set up a website containing information and significant resources on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which can be accessed here.

  • Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
    As many attorneys struggle with substance abuse during these difficult times, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers has an updated list of resources that can help.

  • Rothman Gordon Resource Center
    As legislation comes out at a furious pace, Rothman Gordon has established a Coronavirus Resource Center to explain how individuals and businesses are impacted and what resources may be available.

  • Helping Clients Prepare for Public Health Emergencies
    The ACBA’s Insurance Partner, USI Affinity, has prepared an informational booklet regarding the coronavirus and how lawyers can help clients prepare for public health emergencies. The guide can be accessed here.

  • Cyberscams
    Unfortunately may scam artists are using the Coronavirus crisis as a way to execute cyberscams. USI Affinity has published an article on how to avoid these sophisticated scams.

  • Help Working Remotely
    Need help working remotely? The ACBA Partners at SimpleLaw are offering two free months of their practice management software and unlimited training as a way to help attorneys transition to a virtual office. Click here for more.

  • LCL Resources
    Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers has many resources available to help attorneys with mental health challenges, substance issues and more during the pandemic.
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