Law360 (April 30, 2020, 12:27 AM EDT) --
Today's perspective comes from Chicago-based Jay Edelson, founder and CEO of Edelson PC and host of the Non-Compliant podcast.
What challenges has the pandemic created in your specific area of work?
The best plaintiffs lawyers are able to anticipate the future. There is no sugarcoating this: The country won't be the same.
We will live, work and socialize in different ways than we used to. That will create a demand for new businesses to innovate and, with that, a need for regulators and plaintiffs lawyers to make sure they are doing so in a fair and lawful way. In the privacy arena, we are already seeing companies overreach (using the false narrative that the pandemic requires people to give up their privacy rights) and we expect to see more of that over the coming months.
Edelson's focus on the future has an increased level of difficulty because we have been busier than ever with pandemic-related issues. We mobilized to bring business interruption insurance denial cases on behalf of business owners throughout the country.
We have already filed — and are preparing to file more — complaints against the national banks for prioritizing well-connected clients in obtaining federal Payment Protection Program loans over the mom-and-pop stores the PPP was intended to serve. And we are working with regulators and lawmakers to clamp down on those looking to improperly profit from the pandemic.
How are you and your family adapting at home?
It's been both difficult and energizing. The world has gotten to be a scarier place and our plans have been either shelved or left up in the air. My daughter, for example, is finishing up her senior year of high school and it's anyone's guess as to whether college (as we know it) will start in the fall.
Also, as someone who is passionate about sports, losing out on my volleyball games (typically 4-5 times per week) and not being able to see the Celtics play has been particularly hard. I have redirected my competitiveness and am getting comfortable losing to my 15-year-old son in our Xbox tennis battles.
The positive side is that I have been able to spend much more time with my family and we have come to realize that we actually like each other (which is a major relief!). As much as I am looking forward to rejoining the world, I also know that I will miss having my loved ones so close.
What is the most creative or productive response to the crisis you've witnessed so far?
I have been so impressed with businesses that have mobilized to help combat the crisis. For example, in Illinois, KOVAL Distillery quickly pivoted to making hand sanitizer for first responders, and Petra & Holum (a local Chicago packaging company) converted its production facilities to make personal protective equipment.
Our connected world has made it easier to link up with these types of companies. A family member of mine saw a news piece about KOVAL and within 24 hours we had partnered with them to deliver hand sanitizer to hospitals throughout Illinois. When Petra & Holum heard what we did with KOVAL, they tweeted asking for our help in converting their factory. One day later, we were able to give them a grant and now have helped produce and deliver thousands of masks and shields to first responders in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.
It is amazing to see these companies put their communities and the country first, and simply mind-blowing to get to witness the speed at which they have been able to execute.
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