Local attorneys adjust to new processes during pandemic

Coronavirus

The ones we talked to said they didn't have a banner year, but one said it wasn't that bad

GIRARD, Ohio (WYTV) – How have lawyers made it through the pandemic? Are they making money? The ones we talked to said they didn’t have a banner year, but one said it wasn’t that bad.

Attorney Brian Kren works out of a 114-year-old building in downtown Girard. He does mostly estate work. For Kren, business in 2020 was about the same as in 2019.

“I can assure you that a global pandemic has driven people to get their affairs in order,” he said.

Attorney Dominic DeLaurentis is president of the Mahoning County Bar Association. He said the pandemic has impacted private practitioners in some regard.

“Just because people aren’t out and about a lot anymore. Maybe they are putting off things they would want to do until it is safer to go back in to see a lawyer,” DeLaurentis said.

Attorney Dave Betras said at his firm, Betras, Kopp and Harshman, business was down last year, though he didn’t know by how much. He also thinks this year will be worse.

“You can’t get a criminal trial, and who would want one with all the protocols in place? We’re trial lawyers. We need courtrooms and we need juries. I want to be able to look into a jury’s eyes and talk to them,” Betras said.

Kren, who is president of the Trumbull County Bar Association, said holding hearings remotely can work but trials can be challenging.

“Judging witness testimony and credibility when they are testifying from their couch at home is difficult,” Kren said.

But DeLaurentis, who is also a magistrate for Mahoning County Judge John Durkin, says the pandemic has taught lawyers not everything needs to be done in person. Phone conferences can work.

“I think that has helped us learn that we don’t have to bring lawyers in for every little hearing that we can do by phone,” he said.

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