The Indiana State Bar Association is monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and curating credible information and resources as they relate to the legal community. Please share relevant updates with Kelsey Kotnik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that ISBA staff is now working remotely, effectively closing the office space to meetings and visitors. Feel free to e-mail or call just as you have always done (click here for a staff directory).
Guidelines: Reopening your practice
best serve our members the ISBA COVID-19 Recovery Task Force has researched and considered how we may responsibly and gradually return our clients, colleagues, staff, and others to our workplaces. We hope when the time comes, these guidelines serve
as a valuable tool along with other resources to enhance your considerations for reopening your offices.
At the request of Governor Eric Holcomb, some of these guidelines and suggestions have been shared with the Governor's office to
be used to benefit the entire state.
Managing your practice through COVID-19
Free Coaching Sessions
All ISBA members are invited to schedule a free coaching session with our LPM Consultant Tara Puckey to talk through all your working-from-home questions, from tech tools to maintaining team culture, how to lead
your team through this scary time to setting your own personal workflow. We have answers, suggestions, a long list of resources, and a great listening ear. Schedule >>
Related ISBA Sections
If you practice in--or wish to practice in--one of the areas of law facing increased demand as a result of the pandemic, consider joining an ISBA section focused on that area. Many sections have become especially
connected during this disconnected time, and have taken to their online listservs to pose and answer specific challenges related to their practice. Below are a few sections that may be of interest. Learn more >>
- Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights
- Business Law
- Criminal Justice
- Elder Law
- Employment, Labor & Benefits Law
- Family & Juvenile Law
- General Practice, Solo & Small Firm
- Probate, Trust & Real Property (PTRP)
Two new Supreme Court orders (May 13)
Emergency Order Permitting Expanded Remote Proceedings
The Supreme Court finds that the trial courts’ efficient and effective operation to hold timely hearings and dispose of cases requires broader authority to conduct court business
remotely. Read the order for the Court's guidance >>
The order also provides a link to the Court's Resuming Operations of the Trial Courts guidelines. ISBA President Leslie Craig Henderzahs and ISBA Litigation Section Chair David Temple represented ISBA members in the development of this document.
Order Extending Time for Expanding Trial Court Operations
Supreme Court order extends all Administrative Rule 17 orders through May 30. Jury trials will not resume until at least July 1. Courts shall submit transition plans for safely expanding court operations. Read order >>
Attorneys needed to support law students
Indiana’s law schools have connected with ISBA, concerned about the implications of COVID-19 on law students’ summer and post-graduate career development opportunities.Support a law student by providing
work experience. Can your firm, organization, or agency support a remote intern for just a few weeks this summer? Our website provides resources for designing and remote-managing an internship or “micro internship” this summer.
assuming the role of a mentor and sign up to be paired with a law student. Answer their questions, check in on them, listen to their concerns, and give feedback. You won’t just be giving career advice – you’ll develop a meaningful connection during a
time when we need them most.
ISBA is here to support you as you guide the future of our profession – find plenty of resources, plus links to post your internship position and sign up to be a mentor, by clicking here.
Indiana July bar exam will be a one-day remote test (May 7)
The Indiana July bar exam will take place with adjustments in place to account for social distancing due to COVID-19. The Indiana Supreme Court handed down an order describing how the
State Board of Law Examiners should conduct the test.
In response to the crisis, the exam will be held remotely on July 28, 2020. It will include the Indiana Essay Examination and a series of short answer questions on topics tested on the Multistate
Bar Examination. Read order >>
Two new Supreme Court orders issued (May 1)
The court has issued the following orders:
- In the matter of Administrative Rule 17 Emergency Relief for Indiana Trial Courts Relating to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Read order >>
- In the Matter of Emergency Procedures for the Witnessing of Wills Relating to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Read order >>
The Supreme Court has issued an order extending emergency relief to trial courts though May 17, and extending jury trials until June 1. (April 24)
Click here to read the order. Details include:
- The effective date of all orders granting emergency relief to trial courts under Administrative Rule 17 is extended through May 17.
- Courts shall not resume jury trials until at least June 1 without prior approval from the Court. All deadlines for trial courts to resume jury trials or submit status reports under previous Administrative Rule 17 orders for trial courts are vacated.
- Trial courts are asked to develop and submit transition plans for expanded operations by May 15. The courts’ plans should generally include proposed timelines for resuming normal staffing and loosening restrictions on spectators in courtrooms, plans
for continuing or expanding remote hearings, and processes to determine whether conditions permit courts to start resuming jury trials. Courts are encouraged to convene local partners and collaborate on the plans. The order said, "The critical
question to begin addressing now is how to transition—not when."
- To aid in this effort, the Court has convened a task force including judicial officers from across the state and staff from the Office of Judicial Administration. The task force will develop guiding principles on how to safely and responsibly expand
operations in Indiana’s courts. That task force will also invite input from state-level justice system partners like the Indiana State Bar Association, prosecutors, public defenders, sheriffs, and others.
- The Court is continuing to work with public health officials and members within the judicial system, and will provide more specific guidance by future order.
Life Outside of Law
Call the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (317-833-0370) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to chat with a JLAP staff member who is well-trained to discuss stressors you may be facing, especially as life has changed
so drastically. Additionally, join JLAP support groups, including a new group designed for those feeling isolated as a result of the stay-at-home. No need to register, commit, or come prepared. Call 317-833-0370 for details on each group.
- NEW Weekly Connection Group – Wednesdays at noon
- NEW Weekly Law Student Group – Mondays at noon
- Addiction Issues – 1st Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.
- Caregiver Support – 2nd Thursday of each month at noon
- Mental Health and Wellness – 3rd Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.
Click here to download JLAP's "Keeping Sane While Sheltering in Place" guide.
JLAP has more information on remote mental health, addiction, and well-being resources on its website, courts.in.gov/ijlap.
Free Work + Life On-Demand CLE
Hear tips and tricks for how to integrate your professional duties and those that fulfill you personally, how to manage billable hours
with social hours, and do so without incurring some of the serious consequences identified by JLAP, like substance abuse and mental health struggles. Watch any time for free.
Free Working it from Home On-Demand CLE
ISBA LPM Consultant Tara Puckey discusses challenges, opportunities and tips for the "new normal"
of working from home.
RG Online: “Hearing” Mr. Rogers: Practicing resilience in our neighborhoods, in the dark days ahead
Written by Ashley E. Hart, Esq., L.S.W.
across neighborhoods, international and domestic, I think about Mr. (Fred) Rogers, a primary teacher of resilience, and how to sit with emotions to achieve wellbeing. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say
to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping,’” Mr. Rogers recalled. Legal professionals are “helpers,” and we should aspire to be. We are reminded on every airplane, we must put our oxygen masks on first, before we aid
others. While I’m no Mr. Rogers, to help you stay resilient in the days and months ahead, here are some suggestions..."
Supreme Court order allows law school graduates to be graduate legal interns (April 8)
In an order issued April 8, the Supreme Court orders that any graduate of an ABA accredited law school who graduated after November 2019, and has not sat
for a bar examination in Indiana or any other jurisdiction prior to February 2021, may serve as a graduate legal intern under Admission and Discipline Rule 2.1, Section 1(b) until February 28, 2021.
This order notes the uncertainty of whether the State Board of Law Examiners will be able to administer the Indiana bar examination in July 2020 as scheduled or at any later date in calendar year 2020. The Court will announce its plan for administering
the bar exam by May 8, 2020. The National Conference of Bar Examiners will announce its plan for the multistate portions of the bar examination on or about May 5, 2020.
If you are interested in more information from ISBA about hosting a graduate intern, email Kelsey Kotnik at email@example.com.
Supreme Court order grants extension (April 7)
In response to Governor Eric Holcomb extending the Stay At Home order though Executive Order 20-18, the Supreme
Court extended in part its orders granting emergency relief through April 6, 2020 for matters in the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Tax Court, and Clerk of Courts. Read Order >>
Two-week extension to Governor's Stay at Home Order (April 6)
Governor Eric Holcomb has issued a two-week extension to Indiana's Stay at Home executive order.
In the original order (20-08), professional services, including legal services, were deemed essential business operations, which were
encouraged to remain open.
In his executive order issued today (20-18), Governor Holcomb added the following guidance:
Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, and real estate services (including appraisal and title services) should be conducted virtually, or by telephone whenever reasonably possible and any professional
services requiring face-to-face encounters should be postponed unless the failure to meet in-person will have a significant adverse impact on the client's financial or legal position.
Additionally, businesses and employers deemed essential are ordered to follow actions listed in the order's COVID-19 Information and Checklist for all Businesses/Employers.
Extension of emergency orders for trial courts (April 3)
The Supreme Court is extending the effective date of trial court Administrative Rule 17 orders through an order in case 20S-CB-123. AR 17 provides the legal
framework for courts to adjust operations. On March 16, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered courts to implement relevant portions of emergency operations to ensure essential services remain in place. All 92 counties and many city/town courts filed AR
17 emergency petitions. More than 110 emergency orders give courts the authority to adjust procedures in response to the pandemic. The orders have various effective dates; 20S-CB-123 brings effective dates in unison.
Additionally, the order authorizes trial courts to review county-jail and community correction sentences of non-violent inmates and juveniles. The order allows courts to consult with prosecutors, public defenders, community corrections, the sheriff, and
health authorities to consider modifying placement.
Courts are going to stay and will not issue new writs of attachment, civil bench warrants, or body attachments (except in emergencies). By refraining from these actions, the courts will avoid placing undue burdens on individuals and communities during
this public health emergency.
Five Supreme Court Orders Adjust Court Operations (March 31)
Order in case 20S-MS-236 suspends language that might prohibit notaries, court reporters, and others from administering oaths to witnesses by remote video. Open order >>
in case 20S-MS-237 identifies conditions under which wills and other estate-planning documents may be signed by witnesses and testators remotely. Open order >>
in case 20S-MS-238 provides direction on the impact of emergency orders on critical family law matters like child support, child custody, and parenting time. Open order >>
in case 20S-MS-239 relaxes the maximum number of allowed online hours for attorney and judicial officer education, which means more professional requirements can be met through distance education rather than in-person learning. Open order >>
Order in case 20S-MS-240 extends the deadline for filing an application to take the July 2020 bar exam. Open order >>
Chief Justice Loretta Rush explained, “We’re hearing from lawyers, judges, litigants, and law students that the legal system must be more flexible in this trying time. The Supreme Court is ordering rule changes to ensure certain legal services can be
provided with remote capabilities and extending the bar exam application deadline.”
Chief Administrative Officer Justin Forkner expressed gratitude to a number of leaders and organizations that helped bring the issues to the Court, “The collaborative nature of Indiana’s government leaders—especially the Governor’s office—and input from
the Indiana State Bar Association has allowed the Court to identify and address legal issues during this emergency with greater efficiency.”
A website with guidance to courts and messages from the Court provides details on the Judicial Branch’s response to COVID-19.
Additionally, the Supreme Court Office of Judicial Administration issued guidance for adjustments to community supervision agencies for individuals under problem-solving court, court alcohol and drug problem program, pretrial, community corrections, and
probation supervision. Courts and community supervision agencies are encouraged to identify new and creative ways to supervise individuals while practicing social distancing. Click here to review the guidance.
Business Resources in Response to Federal Stimulus Bill
Our partners at the American Bar Association continue to research the federal stimulus bill passed Friday by the House of Representatives. We will be sure to share their findings as soon as we can. In the meantime, however, here are some resources for
business owners wondering what options they may have under the new legislation. The following are from Sen. Mike Braun's office. Thanks to our partners at the Indiana Society of Association Executives for sharing.
For business owners
(including solo practitioners) and non-profit administrators
For individuals and solo practitioners
For students and those with student loan debt
Announcement from Secretary of State Connie Lawson Concerning Indiana Remote Notary (March 27)
In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and with the understanding that notarization is an essential component of business and personal transactions, Governor Eric J. Holcomb, Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the Indiana State Bar Association,
and key stakeholders are working diligently to expedite the implementation of remote notarization in the State of Indiana. Remote notarization was previously scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2020. The administrative rules will now go into effect
March 31, 2020 along with the statutory authority to perform remote notarizations. (75 IAC 7 & IC 33-42-17).
Remote Notary Authorization
If you are an active Indiana notary, you may immediately apply to become a remote notary:
- A remote notary authorization allows Indiana Notaries Public to perform notarial functions via two-way audio visual communication on an approved vendor platform while signatures are captured on an electronic record.
- You must contract with an approved remote technology vendor in order to perform remote notarizations. The Indiana Secretary of State's office is currently working to approve remote technology vendors as soon as possible. Once vendors are approved,
they will be posted on Secretary of State’s Business Services homepage.
- Complete and submit the application to INBiz@sos.in.gov. Click here for the application >>
- Complete the Indiana State-Required Remote Notary Education and Exam powered by the National Notary Association (NNA). NNA will provide a certificate of completion. Submit your certificate of completion to INBiz@sos.in.gov.
NNA expects the course to be available April 7, 2020.
- Receive approval of your application (via INBiz@sos.in.gov) from the Secretary of State’s office. The
- Remote Technology Vendor will verify your approval with the Secretary of State’s office.
Initiate contact with a remote technology vendor.
- Finalize onboarding with a remote technology vendor.
Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush Answers your Questions (March 27)
"People need legal help in an emergency situation just as much as ever, and even when this is gone – and this will pass at some point – we’re going to have a dire need for legal services." -Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush
Tune in to this informative conversation ISBA president Leslie Craig Henderzahs had with CJ Rush on March 27. Chief Justice Rush spoke candidly about how COVID-19 is impacting the legal community, and answered questions submitted by ISBA members.
Click here to watch.
Message from ISBA President (March 23)
Your ISBA is working hard with the government and the courts to help you serve your clients.
This afternoon (March 23), the Supreme Court adjusted operational measures to provide guidance to the bench and bar in light of Governor Holcomb’s Executive Orders 20-08 “Directive for Hoosiers to Stay Home” and 20-09 which closed State government offices,
including the Indiana Statehouse and Government Center campuses, to the general public. Effective immediately and through April 6, 2020 or further order of the Court, the Supreme Court issued its new order (click here to read) which maintains essential court operations and now includes, among other things, the tolling of appellate matters, to ensure the orderly and fair administration of justice, during this emergency.
In a conversation early this afternoon with Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush, she stressed the importance of continued communication between the courts and the bar. She also encouraged ISBA members to regularly visit the court's website, which is updated twice each day, at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. In turn, I shared that the courts can count on ISBA to provide support wherever possible.
ISBA continues to work on getting the e-notary in place as soon as possible, addressing arising difficulties and those you bring to our attention, as well as developing and curating resources to help you navigate legal and professional challenges. Please
continue monitoring our website, inbar.org/COVID-19 to make use of these resources.
Stay healthy and well,
Leslie Craig Henderzahs
Indiana State Bar Association, President
Church Church Hittle + Antrim, Partner
Legal services deemed 'essential' (March 23)
Governor Eric J. Holcomb has deemed legal services as essential business operations, and thus exempt from the Stay at Home executive order he issued at noon today. The order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. March 24 and lasts through 11:59 p.m. April 6.
Other professional services exempt from the order include: accounting services, insurance services, and real estate services (including appraisal and title services).
In addition, the order exempts judges, court personnel, and certain other judicial branch stakeholders—along with Essential Government Functions as determined by each governmental body—from the limitations of the order.
ISBA worked closely with members of the judicial, executive, and legislative branches over the past week to ensure you are able to continue helping your clients in this uncertain time of need.
Our work is not done, however. We recognize that e-notary is a major concern for all Hoosiers, and especially our members. We continue coordinating with Governor Holcomb's Office and the Indiana Secretary of State's Office to accelerate that timeline.
Governor of Indiana Executive Orders Update (March 20)
Governor Eric J. Holcomb signed executive orders yesterday that extend the closure of schools, provide economic relief and protections for individuals and businesses, and expand unemployment insurance benefits for those impacted by job loss. Click here to read the executive orders.
Key highlights that may relate to your law practice and clients include:
- The state of Indiana will align with the federal government to delay state income tax payments from April 15 to July 15. The U.S. Treasury extended the deadline to pay federal income tax by 90 days.
- Penalties will be waived for 60 days for property tax paid after May 11. The state will work with counties that may experience cash flow stress because of the delay.
- The state will not immediately move forward with using $300 million in reserves to pay for several capital projects approved in the just-concluded legislative session and instead maintain flexibility to utilize the funds as needed for relief efforts
and to maintain current services. The state will consider using bonding authority to move forward with the just-approved capital projects.
- Providers of essential utility services such as gas and electric, broadband, telecom, water and wastewater services are prohibited from discontinuing service to any customer during the public health emergency.
- The state’s application to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was approved on Wednesday. This program provides targeted, low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help small businesses and nonprofits overcome the temporary loss of revenue
as a result of coronavirus. See more at SBA.gov/Disaster.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits
- The state will interpret Indiana’s unemployment laws to the broadest extent possible to cover Hoosiers who are out of work because of COVID-19.
Benefits will be paid to individuals who file their initial unemployment claims late.
- The Department of Workforce Development will allow individuals to continue to accrue unemployment eligibility if they take work leave because of COVID-19.
- DWD will seek federal authorization to provide unemployment benefits for those who are not otherwise eligible for unemployment, such individuals who have recently started a job.For employers, DWD will not assess certain experience rate penalties because
of employees who receive unemployment benefits because of COVID-19.
- No residential eviction proceedings or foreclosure actions may be initiated during the public health emergency. This does not relieve the individual of obligations to pay rent or mortgage payments.
- All public housing authorities are requested to extend deadlines for housing assistance recipients and required documentation to show eligibility for housing programs.
- The Indiana Department of Financial Institutions and Indiana Community Housing Development Authority are required to work with financial institutions to identify tools to help promote housing stability.
- Participants in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are not required to make premium payments.
- Job search requirements are waived for those applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits.
- The Family and Social Services Administration will seek a federal waiver to extend renewals for existing Medicaid and HIP recipients.
- Telehealth services for mental health, substance use disorder and prescribing for Medicaid covered services will be expanded.
- The commissioner of the state Department of Insurance will request that insurers institute a 60-day moratorium on policy cancellations for non-payment of premiums. This does not suspend a policyholder’s obligation to make payments.
- The commissioner will ask health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing without requiring prior authorization.
- The commissioner will request that health insurers not increase prices or coverage costs that involve medical care for COVID-19.
Message from ISBA president (March 18)
The coronavirus has disrupted our practices, families, and lives. Most of us have never experienced anything like this, and you probably have far more questions than answers.
You are likely trying to figure out how to work from home, take care of your loved ones, and support your community. You may be worried about your practice, your coworkers, your investments, your health, and a myriad of other things.
The ISBA is here to support you.
As a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, you are surrounded by 10,000 legal professional friends, all facing similar struggles, and all figuring it out together. In addition, the ISBA staff has been working diligently over the past week to compile
(and develop) resources, services, and programs that will help us better navigate issues during this difficult time.
Our goal is simple: Come together as a community to provide support, education, connections, and advocacy relating to your life as a lawyer. We will leave the general pandemic updates, health precautions, and anything else outside of the legal realm to
those sources with which you are already being inundated.
A few ways we are accomplishing our goal include:
- Creation of a digital meeting space for all ISBA members to chat about how things are going, ask questions, and share insights. To join this community (IN Legal COVID-19), click here. (If you don't know your ISBA log-in credentials, email Carissa Long at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Development of a series of roundtable discussions where we'll consider top-of-mind issues as they relate to COVID-19.
- Offering five free on-demand CLE that will help you navigate these confusing times while keeping up with your CLE requirements. Download these on our COVD-19 resource page.
We encourage you to engage in these opportunities not just to learn from your colleagues, but to share your insights and experiences with others. Together, we can leverage the power of our state bar.
Leslie Craig Henderzahs
State Bar Association President
Partner, Church Church Hittle + Antrim
COVID-19 Updates for the Legal Community (March 16)
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Supreme Court has ordered trial courts (click here to read Order) to implement relevant
portions of Continuity of Operations Planning (such as postponing jury trials, allowing for remote hearings, and keeping only essential staff in courthouses).
Trial courts are being directed to petition the Supreme Court through Administrative Rule 17 to carry out operational changes. AR 17 provides the framework for trial courts to put operational changes in place in the face of an emergency. Indiana Chief
Justice Loretta Rush has already signed orders allowing for adjustments to jury trials, hearings, and other business practices as requested by counties. The Supreme Court is prioritizing review of any AR 17 petitions filed.
At the Supreme Court, attendance at oral arguments will be limited to the attorneys and parties in the case; the public is encouraged to watch the live webcasts (click here for link).
The Office of Judicial Administration has already put in place social distancing and telework options for its employees.
In a press release just issued, Chief Justice Rush reported that she is monitoring the situation with guidance from the Indiana State Department of Health. She explained, “The Indiana Supreme Court will continue to hold oral arguments (subject to change),
review cases, and accept filings—while taking proper measures to reduce exposure of COVID-19. We also know our trial court judges across the state are focused on ensuring essential court functions continue while being mindful of the safety of their
communities. The Judicial Branch has avenues in place to ensure court operations at all levels continue.”
Free On-Demand CLE
Learn from five free on-demand CLE that will help you navigate these confusing times while keeping up with your CLE requirements.