Higher gas prices, fewer court appearances?

June 20, 2008
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You can’t turn on the television or read a newspaper these days without seeing a story about how the increased cost of oil is affecting people. People are making a more concerted effort to carpool, cut back on extraneous driving, or take public transportation in attempts to offset the costs of driving.

But what can attorneys who have clients in different parts of the state do? The Indiana Supreme Court and Court of Appeals typically hold arguments in Indianapolis, which means attorneys outside of the city have to go to Indianapolis to represent their clients. Occasionally, arguments are held in different parts of the state, meaning an Evansville attorney now might have to travel even farther to make it to Valparaiso or Richmond instead of Indianapolis for a case. Some attorneys have to travel to a different county just to attend one, short court hearing.

Attorneys don’t have the luxury of grabbing a bus to attend a hearing two counties away, and carpooling may not always be an option. Even driving within the same county for trips to court every day takes a toll on the wallet.

How has the price of gasoline affected your practice? Does your law firm or office allow telecommuting? According to a recent survey by Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas, 14 percent of companies polled let workers telecommute at least one day a week.

What about the courts – do you think they should let attorneys telecommute for certain proceedings to save on gas?
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