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Florida judge tells lawyers to get out of bed and appear fully clothed during Zoom hearings


One jurisdiction noticed attorneys have been a little too casual during remote court proceedings

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A Florida judge has accused attorneys of appearing way too comfortable while representing their clients during hearings conducted over Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic and felt the need to remind lawyers to show up on camera fully clothed and out of bed.

What are the details?

Broward Circuit Judge Dennis Bailey sent out message on behalf of the 90 judges in the Weston Bar Association, letting the jurisdiction's attorneys know some of the lawyers have raised eyebrows with their appearances before the judges.

In an update posted to association's website, Judge Bailey wrote, "Judges would appreciate it if the lawyers and their clients keep in mind these Zoom hearings are just that: hearings. They are not casual phone conversations. It is remarkable how many ATTORNEYS appear inappropriately on camera."

"We've seen many lawyers in casual shirts and blouses, with no concern for ill-grooming, in bedrooms with the master bed in the background, etc.," the judge continued, further noting, "One male lawyer appeared shirtless and one female attorney appeared still in bed, still under the covers."

"And putting on a beach cover-up won't cover up you're poolside in a bathing suit," he added. "So, please, if you don't mind, let's treat court hearings as court hearings, whether Zooming or not."

In an interview with the Miami Herald, Judge Bailey — who still wears his robes during remote proceedings — explained, "I would want [attorneys] dressed showing some respect for their recognition that this is a court hearing." He added, "You're going to earn the same amount of respect that you're shown. If you show up in jeans and a T-shirt, it's counterproductive."

WFTS-TV reported that since last month, Broward County courts have held roughly 1,200 court hearings over Zoom, with 14,000 participants.

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