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January 26, 2004

Telephone Appearances Finally Appear in NYC (Will the Savings Appear, Too?)

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:58 pm

It took a while for the telephony revolution to reach the Empire State but, earlier this month, fourteen Manhattan judges began allowing lawyers to make several types of court appearances by telephone.  A NYLJ article explains that the new service is experimental, and is being administrated by the California-based company CourtCall.   (New York Lawyer, “NY Lawyers Now Can Make Appearance By Phoning Court,” by Daniel Wise, Jan. 26, 2004).


At its website, CourtCall declares that “Lawyers can stop spending their time and their clients’ money traveling to court by making a CourtCall Appearance.”  It lists, along with the NYC Supreme Court, sixteen other states where one or more court is currently using CourtCall’s proprietary system (California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, West Virginia).  


phone ringing  Appearing by telephone (as opposed to “just phoning in” an appearance) can clearly be an important tool for reducing attorney billables and clients’ overall litigation costs, while also helping courts to operate more efficiently and smoothly.  Given the well-entrenched practice in parts of New York State of billing clients a flat fee for each “court appearance” — usually amounting to two or three billable hours at the attorney’s normal rate — and charging multiple clients for the same time in court, it will be interesting to see whether and how these savings will be passed on to clients.  I hope someone is monitoring this situation.



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