As many of you know, our firm has been around for two-thirds of a century, well before the web, smart phones and electric cars. It has been our privilege to represent labor unions, workers, the injured and the disabled throughout the State of Illinois and in our region for generations. We are grateful for being recognized for our excellence in the courts and in the legal community. Even in a year beset by many challenges due to the pandemic, we celebrate being honored with top ratings by Best Lawyers of U.S. News and World Report and four of our partners continuing to be recognized by Super Lawyers and two associates as Rising Stars. As news of the Covid Delta Variant continues to raise concern, we are committed to continuing our high level of service and are optimistic that changes to our practice will serve our clients well.
In mid-March 2020 the Courts, Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, National Labor Relations Board and Social Security Administration all abruptly shut down most, if not all, in-person hearings and trials. As many of you know, our firm has longstanding in-person client meetings, including, hotel conference room meetings in Quincy, IEA-REA teachers and school support staff workers meetings in Rockford, Law Enforcement and Firefighter office meetings, and with UAW workers at their locals throughout the State of Illinois. Additionally, we meet with airline workers especially flight attendants and pilots who come to our Chicago office when brought to our city for IMEs or Commission hearings. All came to a halt. Hospitals, doctors, and medical providers dealing with an overload of new patients and caring for the health of their own employees had difficulty providing us medical records and bills for our clients. Doctors cancelled in-person depositions. There was also significant concern about reducing the amount of paper documents due to the fear of contamination. Many law firms struggled with setting up reduced office staffing and work-from-home technology. As a result of all of the above, labor unions, and many injured and disabled may have experienced delays in their claims.
At Katz, Friedman we quickly adapted. Our attorneys remained accessible whether working in the office or working from home and our firm’s web portal provides an around-the-clock opportunity to communicate with us. The transition to working from home was assisted by the law firm’s long-term commitment to technology as means of providing improved service to our clients. We have long utilized a mainframe computer which we are able to access remotely via a Virtual Private Network connection, a highly secure communication channel design to provide confidentiality but permitting all of the members of the law firm to work from home on our clients’ matters. Our state-of-the-art telephone technology allowed incoming office telephone calls to be seamlessly routed directly to lawyers and staff who were working remotely.