Florida judge urges attorneys to dress appropriately for Zoom court hearings

A circuit court judge in Florida warned attorneys in a letter to cease appearing in unprofessional settings during remote hearings hosted over Zoom, citing instances in which some attorneys have conducted court business not fully clothed.

In a letter posted online, Broward County Circuit Judge Dennis Bailey warned attorneys to keep in mind that "these Zoom hearings are just that: hearings."

"They are not casual phone conversations. It is remarkable how many ATTORNEYS appear inappropriately on camera," Bailey wrote. 

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"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. One male lawyer appeared shirtless and one female attorney appeared still in bed, still under the covers," he added. "[P]utting on a beach cover-up won't cover up you're poolside in a bathing suit. So, please, if you don't mind, let's treat court hearings as court hearings, whether Zooming or not."

Bailey's letter comes as many government services around the country have moved to remote meetings as health officials battle the spread of coronavirus. The virus has infected more than 500,000 Americans and killed more than 23,000 in recent weeks.

In Broward County, court hearings moved to digital hearings over Zoom in mid-March, though some trials have been rescheduled instead of held over the app, according to Bailey's letter.