No Pandemic Drop Off in Work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office

Civil Division Chief Renata Gowie, November 2019. Photo by Owen Schmidt

Most members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office are teleworking from home unless court or office business requires a personal presence in the office or a physical presence in court. Chief of the Civil Division Renata Gowie notes, “We haven’t really seen a drop off in work,” and that in some respects, the work has increased.

“Now that we are about three months into the pandemic, a few plaintiffs are eager to conduct in-person depositions in civil defensive cases, which often requires travel to other parts of the state or out of state. Remote depositions pose their own challenges. There are technological limitations and connectivity issues, and one cannot appropriately determine the credibility of the deponent via remote means.” Civil Chief Gowie reports that three new employees started in the Civil Division during the pandemic, “not an ideal way to start a new job.”

Likewise, many aspects of the work of the Criminal Division have increased over the course of the pandemic. Deputy Criminal Chief Scott Bradford comments that the court and the parties, for the most part, have readily adapted to the new environment. “While not always ideal, with the appropriate waivers by defendants, most hearings are  conducted remotely, using technology to appear.” The resumption of jury trials remains an ongoing discussion for the court and the parties involved.


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