I want to talk to you a little bit today about how whether virtual courtrooms and virtual technology really make it necessary to hire a local criminal lawyer and I want to give you the example of our offices. For example, we have multiple physical locations and lawyers and staff. We’re located in Toronto. Lawyers in Toronto, staff members. Kitchener, London and Windsor. So we’ve always operated locally and happy to operate locally in those cities but we’ve also serviced all of the other areas in between. Smaller counties like Woodstock, Walkerton, Simcoe. You know, bigger cities like Hamilton and we’ve never felt at a disadvantage in doing that. We’ve been able to, well first of all those locations are within striking distance of each of our offices.There’s always been this feeling a lot of people and it is propagated by the criminal bar, and I used to be one of those people who felt this way frankly when I was a younger lawyer that oh it’s better to hire locally. You know your lawyer knows the Crown Attorneys more, knows the local Judges, etc. We never felt at a disadvantage frankly working in any of those counties. In fact I’ve found our success rate in out-of-towns at least as good if not better than our local. You know, there was no problem there. Of course some clients wanted to have a local lawyer so they wouldn’t retain us. They would retain someone else but now things have changed. You see we have, our firm has this, we have virtual technology in the province. People don’t want to meet in person. The courts are going virtual. Right now we are doing virtual out-of-custody guilty plea, virtual bail hearings. A lawyer in Toronto can operate in Windsor quite easily and very good lawyers in different cities can operate anywhere.Is there an advantage to knowing the local Crown’s? Well if there was ever that, I think at one time there was that you know, a bit of a myth that there’s an old boy’s network that you get deals if you know the lawyer. If ever that existed, I’m not saying it ever did, that’s all gone. You know Judges like to sometimes see a refreshing face in Crown Attorneys and again our firm’s had a very good success rate. So you can even do trials virtually right now.

So that’s what’s going on. It’s not necessarily a good thing for local lawyers. It’s not necessarily a good thing for our firm because our main offices are local but we don’t propagate that message. I don’t say hire us because we’re local. I say hire us and compare us to other law firms and make your decision based on your budget because we can operate anywhere in the province effectively right now including doing virtual trials, virtual guilty pleas and this is probably not going away. The pandemic is probably going to be here for a while unfortunately. The court system’s changing. It’s modernizing and I would expect for example the remand system is going to be done away with or go virtually. Virtual guilty pleas are here to stay and virtual trials may be here to stay as well. Very simply hire the best lawyer you can find within your budget whether that be local, and that may be a local lawyer or it may not be and that’s the message I want to give to you today about what’s going on with the new virtual reality that’s been caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

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