Chicago Attorney Jamaal Buchanan Shares Legal Tips During Pandemic By Eddy “Precise” Lamarre

Jamaal Buchanan (Photo credit: Shannon Laurine Photography)


He received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and African American studies from Bradley University, and he earned his Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School. The Chicago native previously served as an assistant state’s attorney in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

He leads Buchanan Management & Consulting LLC, a full-service entertainment management firm for creatives providing legal and business consulting services to entertainers and industry-related companies.

Rolling out spoke with Buchanan about some of the ways the public can navigate through the legal system when it comes to courts and contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How has the current global health crisis affected public access to the state and federal court systems?

Courtrooms around America have modified their operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the public, court staff and the judiciary. If you have a matter pending in either a state or federal court, most likely, the issue has been continued for a least 30 days. Some courtrooms may still hear certain kinds of cases, including grand juries, bail hearings, arraignments, preliminary hearings or matters that are an emergency.

What is force majeure, and why is it essential during times like these?

Force majeure is defined as unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract. Force majeure is often seen as the language in a contract that talks about the rights and responsibilities of each party if there is an “act of God” that takes place. While this language is often overlooked and considered as boilerplate, [it] comes into play during times like the coronavirus pandemic.

The language in a force majeure clause will state what efforts should be taken by each party during an “act of God” and for how long. Moreover, it should also discuss what actions should be taken to mitigate or lessen damages during the pandemic.

Can a landlord begin an eviction process against a tenant for failing to pay rent during the pandemic?

Many individuals have been forced to shelter in place and provide the necessities for their families for an unknown duration of time. Many expenses that may have been allocated to pay for rent or mortgage are now being used to ensure daily survival.

Every state and county may have laws that differ. Some states have ordered moratoriums to stop evictions through a specific date. Search to find out what that date is in your state. New eviction cases may still be filed and heard by the eviction court at a later date. Stay up to date with your monthly rent payments as if the virus did not exist if you can.

Additionally, some mortgage companies have been providing hardship forbearance options to assist borrowers during these troubling times. Contact your lender or review their websites to explore those hardship opportunities.

Chicago attorney Jamaal Buchanan shares legal tips during pandemic

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