Subscribe by Email

Your email:

Posts by Category

One Legal Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

What You Need to Know About eService in California Superior Courts

  
  
  

Have you ever wanted to eServe your documents but worried that you might not be doing it correctly? eService can be much more efficient and save you time and money, but it is imperative that you comply with the California Rules of Court. Many people don't know that you can actually eServe documents in all 58 California counties, even if the court does not permit eFiling. You can expect another Instant Expert guide on this very topic soon, but in the meantime we have compiled a list of things you absolutely need to know about eService in California.

  • eService is permitted if you can overnight, fax or mail your document. Pursuant to CRC 2.251 (a), anything that requires personal service is not allowed to be eServed.

  • You can consent to eService by doing one of two things: either filing and serving a notice of such, like a Stipulation or a Consent to eService, or by eFiling any document with the court. It is case specific, so when you eFile a document in a particular case you are consenting to eService in that case only.

  • You must eServe if eFiling is mandated, pursuant to CRC 2.251 (c)(2), unless personal service is required by statute, the court orders otherwise or the case involves self-represented litigants. Self-represented litigants do have the option to consent to eService.

  • Service is complete at the time of transmission. Once you hit "send" or "submit", you have done your due diligence.

  • Any period of response time is extended by two court days.

  • Electronic Proofs of Service need to be included along with the documents being eFiled, eServed, or both. The Proof of Service can be on pleading or on a Judicial Council form. It can also be attached to the document or submitted as its own document.

If you are interested in learning more about eService in California, sign up for our eService webinar held on the third Tuesday of every month! You can also read more about the California Rules of Court on eService here.

What you need to know about eService in California

 

Avoid a Rejected eFiling in San Diego Superior Court

  
  
  

If you are currently eFiling your documents with the San Diego Superior Court, you know just how much more efficient it can be as opposed to paper filing. In a recent speaking engagement with the San Diego Legal Secretaries Association, Summer Travis of the SDSC stated that the best way to help the court with their backlog of filings is to begin utilizing the permissive eFiling system. Not only will it save you time and money, it minimizes the work for the court clerks, enabling them to return your conformed copies in a much more timely fashion. In fact, most documents are processed and the conformed copies returned to you in less than 48 hours. However, nothing is more frustrating than submitting your documents electronically and subsequently receiving a rejection notice because your eFiling contained a particular error. We want to save you from that exasperation! We recently ran a report on the most common reasons for eFiling rejections in the San Diego Superior Court. There will be a new Instant Expert series on this subject matter available soon for download, but for now here is a quick list of types of common rejection reasons:

  • Documents are not text searchable. Your documents in their entirety must be submitted in a text searchable format (OCR). If you have a 25 page document and pages 1-24 are text searchable and page 25 is not, your document is subject to rejection. Exhibits attached to a document must also adhere to the OCR requirements. The court requires that it be text searchable because it allows the individual reviewing your document to search for a word or a word phrase within that document. For instruction on how to make a document text searchable, view our OCR guide.

  • Multiple documents are submitted as one PDF. If you have multiple documents such as a Summons, Complaint and Civil Case Cover Sheet, they must be submitted as individual PDF files. Run-on documents will be rejected. The only exception to this rule is on Notice of Motions. You can read more about submitting a motion in the SDSC's eFiling Requirements. One Legal gives you 120MB of space to work with when uploading documents, so use that to your advantage! Upload as many documents as necessary in individual PDF format in order to avoid rejection.

  • Exhibits are not bookmarked. Exhibits need to be attached to the document they are supporting and then bookmarked. A bookmark is simply a virtual exhibit tab. The clerk or research attorney reviewing your document needs to be able to click on a link and be taken directly to the exhibit rather than having to search through a voluminous filing in search of an exhibit. For instruction on how to bookmark an exhibit, refer to our PDF bookmarking guide or attend our Adobe Acrobat For the Law Office training webinar!

  • Document is submitted upside down. Be sure to upload your document right side up!

Although it is not a requirement, it is very important for the purpose of document processing to make sure that your document is optimized. If an eFiling is not optimized, it causes problems on the clerk review end of the transaction. The clerk has to save the document as a reduced size PDF, replace the new document with the original, and then apply the stamp. As you can imagine, if the clerk has to do that mulitple times on a daily basis it does hinder their efficiency and as a result it can cause a significant delay in the return of your conformed copies. Help the clerks and get your conformed copies back faster by ensuring that your document is optimized. For tips on how to do this, refer to our Adobe Acrobat guide or attend our Adobe Acrobat For the Law Office training.

We strongly encourage you to review the San Diego Superior Court's eFiling Requirements. They are incredibly helpful and informative and will aid you in submitting your eFiling without incident. If you are interested in learning more about eFiling in San Diego, sign up for our San Diego eFiling and eService training.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our Instant Expert Series which will include more tips on avoiding a rejected eFiling in San Diego!

Avoid a rejected eFiling in San Diego Superior Court

Predictions for the Paralegal Profession in 2015

  
  
  

The Estrin Report posted an interesting list of predictions for paralegals in 2015. Among the most intriguing forecasts is the assumption that law firms will greatly desire paralegals with expert technology skills. We couldn't agree more! With California Superior Courts slowly but surely implementing eFiling, a strong grasp of technology and how to harnass it for the benefit of the law firm is imperative. With the ability to take the knowledge required for the legal field and combine it with the aptitude to eFile in individual courts, your level of expertise is increased exponentially. San Diego, Orange County and San Francisco Superior Courts permit, and in some instances mandate eFiling and therefore a command of this technology is essential. The Estrin Report does point out that many firms lack the means to train paralegals on such technology, and while this may be the case you can always sign up for one of our free, MCLE accredited courses on eFiling and eService!

You can read the Estrin Report's list of predictions for 2015 in its entirety here. It includes other conjectures including the thought that paralegals will be allowed to appear in front of a judge in place of the attorney, associate work will be delegated to the paralegal, and possible limits on licensing.

We want to know what you think! Which of these, if any, do you think are right on for this year?

paralegal and technology resized 600

Filing and Service of Process Efficiencies

  
  
  

In a fast paced and ever evolving legal industry, knowledge, efficiency and productivity have become the key components for success. With each court implementing its own set of local rules, it can become a time-consuming challenge to ensure that you submit your documents correctly and in a timely fashion. The time, effort and cost of printing and assembling your documents, making the appropriate number of copies for conforming, and having your outgoing work ready to be picked up at the designated route time by a traditional attorney service will reduce not only your productivity but your profitability as well.  Even on a “call-in” basis, the printing and prep is reason enough to consider other options providing greater efficiencies.  In addition, waiting for a physical return of completed or rejected work the next day or two negatively impacts your business.

If maximizing your efficiency while reducing cost is the ultimate goal, then electronically moving your documents to your service not only saves the print and prep time, but also the materials cost.  Receiving conformed copies or rejection notices electronically from your vendor can be a much faster, more efficient practice. Having copies of documents requested from court files sent to you electronically by your vendor eliminates the need for you to scan them in yourself.  Sharing PDF files with others is quick and efficient, reducing unnecessary delays in moving your case along internally while decreasing physical tasking.

An ideal solution to further maximize efficiency is utilizing a single vendor for both filing and process service. You can upload your documents in their electronic form, eliminating the tedious process of document assembly. This convenience is magnified when you have a local filing that needs to be served out of your area if your vendor can handle that for you. You won’t need to spend time looking for another vendor in that other area. And if your filing (or filing and service) is for another area, using that single vendor to handle this for you eliminates your need to research a court’s local rules, figuring out how they want a document submitted, or worrying about courtesy copy requirements and court deadlines. Using one vendor eliminates the guesswork.

One Legal understands you need a vendor who appreciates that time and efficiency is of the utmost importance. You need a vendor who can not only provide professional service, but has the court knowledge that will help make you invaluable to your law office. With One Legal, you:

  • Eliminate your time spent printing and forwarding documents.

  • Can place a single multi-step order to custom fit every situation and need.

  • Deal with just one company that you know and trust.

  • Experience fewer unknowns or surprises from using new people in different areas.

  • Enjoy the benefits and confidence of having one company do it all -- a company who has built relationships over the years with the best companies nationwide to handle its assignments.

In addition to providing the quality service that promises to increase your productivity, we also offer free, MCLE-accredited courses designed to provide you with the resources and the knowledge you need to excel in the legal industry. Our Training team not only offers training webinars, we also have training guides and videos available to download and view at your leisure. Visit our Training website for more information.

court filing, process service, One Legal

San Diego Superior Court Updates for 2015

  
  
  

Last month, the San Diego Legal Secretaries Association hosted an informative meeting on court updates for 2015. The meeting featured speakers from the San Diego Superior Court who focused on new and updated court rules, courtroom closures and relocations, and tips on how to get your filing processed faster.

San Diego Superior Court will be taking a $6 million hit this year, $3 million next year and are down 35% in staffing. As a result, filings are significantly backlogged, especially default judgments and enforcement of judgments such as writs and abstracts. To expedite the filing process on these document types, you can attach a copy of the judgment order to the writ or abstract so that the clerk does not have to search for the entered judgment. eFiling is also an efficient way to get your conformed copies back in a much more timely fashion! The court is strongly encouraging that you eFile in order to help the court be more efficient in processing your transaction. When you eFile a document with the court, you typically receive your conformed copies back within 48 hours! The court even recommended a little trick. If you do have a document that is backlogged, you can submit your documents as an eFiling in order to get your conformed copy back sooner.

If you are submitting your document to the court as a paper filing, the San Diego Superior Court clerks have compiled a list of tips that will make their lives easier and help get your filing processed more quickly:

  • Orders and Judgments need a Proof of Service. No cover sheet is necessary.

  • If you need a conformed copy returned, it is helpful to stamp your copies with "Original" and "Copy" so the clerks know which document to return.

  • If you owe a filing fee, reference the case number on the check.

  • When leaving a phone message for a clerk, be sure to reference the case number. It is also helpful if you repeat your name and phone number slowly so that they don't miss any information.

  • A courtesy copy is required on an Ex Parte Application.

  • A Certificate of Service is now obsolete. The court no longer requires one.

There have also been a few rule amendments. Most pertain to family law matters, but of particular importance is Rule 2.1.20. If you have reserved a hearing date and no longer need that date held, you must call the court to remove the matter from the calendar. If you fail to do so, the court can sanction you up to $1500, so please be sure to adhere to this rule update! Another rule amendment that  may be of particular interest is Rule 2.1.2. The court will only retain conformed copies that are in the pick-up box for 30 days. After the thirty days have passed, the court will throw out the conformed copy. If you would like the court to mail back the conformed copy, include a self addressed stamped envelope along with your filing.

Check out the court's website for more information. If you are interested in learning more about eFiling in San Diego Superior Court, you can attend one of our webinar trainings. Click here to sign up!

San Diego Superior Court announces court updates for 2015

Governor Brown Increases Funding for California Superior Courts

  
  
  

California courts can look forward to an increase in funding this fiscal year. Governor Jerry Brown has proposed adding an additional $180 million to the trial court system. The budget will increase from $3.29 billion to $3.47 billion. The money will be allocated primarily to those trial courts who have been severely affected by budget crisis, including Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties. These courts have had to lay off a significant number of staff, reduce operating hours and close courthouses.

Although much of the additional funding will go toward supporting trial courts, $42.7 million will be put aside to help cover court employee benefits. The budget also allocates funding to cover the anticipated expenses of the voter approved Proposition 47, which reclassifies certain drug and theft crimes as misdemeanors rather than felonies.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye expressed her approval over the budget increase, stating that, "The proposal is consistent with our multi-year approach to rebuild and create a more accessible and efficient court system to serve the people of California."

We want to know what you think! Do you think the budget increase is a step in the right direction?

California Superior Courts receive increase in funding

Paralegal Certificate or Certification?

  
  
  

The San Francisco Paralegal Association posted a great article from the Estrin Report archives earlier this month! The article tackles the difference between having a paralegal certificate versus a paralegal certification. The terms often get confused and the consequences can be serious. Rather than summarize the article, we have reposted it below. We want to know your thoughts! Have you run into this type of situation?

Are you calling yourself certified? Chances are you're mistaken.

Here we go. One more time! I know I’ve written about this a few months back. However, the topic keeps coming up: certification vs. certificate.  There is a difference and at some point, if you are declaring yourself “certified” when you only have a certificate, trouble is coming. Guaranteed.A few weeks ago, a Bar Association contacted me to represent the Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP) on a panel regarding the merits of certification. “Who is going to be on the panel with me?” I asked. The Bar rep answered, “The “other” organization providing an eDiscovery certification exam and two training organizations." I was unaware those two training organizations offered certification exams. I thought they offered certificate courses. Turns out they don't offer certification exams. Even the Bar Association doesn’t know the difference. This is downright embarrassing – and dangerous.Confusing whether you are certified or you have received a certificate from a course or program is a universal mistake. I don’t believe anyone or any organization is deliberately giving out the wrong information. I think of it as mass confusion with no undertaking to correct the situation. The problem is, whether inadvertently or not, you are misrepresenting yourself.  For an industry that is based upon factual investigation, this speaks pretty poorly for the legal community.Here’s the simple explanation: In order to be certified, you must take a rigorous exam from a non-biased third party, one that adheres to the best practices of the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA), generally in a separate facility, that demonstrates your skills, knowledge and experience. If you take a course and are handed a certificate, that is a certificate of completion or achievement. It means that you understand what went on in the course. It is in no way an indication that you are certified nor can you place credentials after your name – even if you took a final exam. That exam only assesses what you learned in the course.A course teaches or trains you. A certification assesses your overall knowledge and skills. According to the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the absolute authority on certification exams:

  • "In contrast to certification and licensure, an assessment-based certificate program is an educational or training program that is used to teach learning objectives and assess whether those objectives were achieved by the student."  [The assessment  may be made via an exam as part of the course but does not signify  certification.]    

  • A certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job, and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular  individual's professional competence." National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA)

In other words, take a course, even take a final exam that tests your knowledge of what you learned in the course and you are not certified. Take an official certification exam, pass it, and you are certified and can place credentials after your name.The ABA does not certify any individual nor paralegal program. It approves a qualified paralegal program only. Here is what the ABA says in part regarding “certified” and “certificated” paralegals.“It is important to distinguish between a paralegal certificate and certification.  The terms are often 

confused.  The terms are not interchangeable and have separate meaning.  A certificate verifies  that a student has successfully completed a paralegal educational program.A certified paralegal is one that has successfully completed a certification exam or other 

requirements of the certifying organization. Certification is the process through which an organization

grants formal recognition to an individual that meets certain established requirements. This may includemeeting educational requirements, prior work experience as a paralegal and passing an examination. 

Once the paralegal has met these criteria, they may use a special designation namely, “certified 

paralegal.”NALA, the National Association for Legal Assistants, offers an excellent certification exam. To prepare one takes plenty of knowledge and bucks. OLP's eDiscovery and Litigation Support Certification exams each took over 18 months, 27 subject matter experts, several Ph.D's applying the science of psychometrics, surveys and beta testing. I'm quite sure NALA did the same.If that doesn’t clear it up, here’s an excellent chart from the American Language and Speech Association. 

Certificate

Certification

Results from an educational process.

Results from an   assessment process.

For both newcomers and   experienced professionals alike.

Typically requires some amount of professional experience

Awarded by educational programs or institutions.

Awarded by a third party, standard-setting organization.

Indicates completion of a course or series of courses with specific focus; is different than a  degree granting program.

Indicates mastery/competency as measured against a defensible set of standards, usually by application or exam.

Course content set a variety of ways (faculty committee; dean; instructor; occasionally through defensible analysis of topic area).

Standards set through a defensible, industry-wide process (job analysis/role delineation that results in an outline of required knowledge and skills).

Usually listed on a resume detailing education; may issues a document to hang on the wall.

Typically results in a designation to use after one's name (C.P.H., C.H.E.S.); may result in a document to hang or keep in a wallet.

Is the end result; demonstrates knowledge of course content at the end of a set period in time.

Has on going requirements in order to maintain; holder must demonstrate he/she continues to meet requirements. C.E.U.'s are continuing education units. For example, RN's and other allied health professionals are required to complete annual   C.E.U.'s to keep their licensure.

Provides the basis and gateway for achieving a degree.

No relationship with attaining higher education or degree.

The terms certification and credentials and designation are also often confused or used incorrectly.

  • Credentials attest to someone's knowledge or authority. Credentials can be a degree earned, e.g., M.P.H. and/or a list of published papers.

  • Certification is a process that results in credentials.

  • designation simply refers to the letters someone uses after their name (M.D., Ph.D., C.P.A.).

Why am I on my high horse once again? Because:

a) Confusing the terms says you don’t know your career. How sad is that? You need to be able to represent yourself correctly. Saying you are certified when you received a certificate of completion or achievement after completing either a course or even a 3-day workshop is not only a misnomer, it could be construed as misrepresentation. Would a lawyer say he/she is a lawyer if they didn’t take the Bar exam?b) Your firm has hired someone who may be claiming expertise beyond reality. Still a cause for termination as far as I know.c) Your firm has misrepresented to their client that you are credentialed when you are not. Here’s how that might go: Client loses case. Turns to firm and says, “You told me you had certified professionals. You don’t.” Law suit? The firm turns to you and says, “You represented that you were certified. You’re not.” Law suit? Termination? You turn to the organization who claimed you were certified after taking their program, seminar or course. You get the picture. Potential chaos just waiting to happen.I have witnessed candidates losing job opportunities because employers realize the candidate knows nothing about their job. I have witnessed perfectly solid legal professionals otherwise embarrassing themselves by claiming they are certified when they are not. Even the organization that told you that you were “certified” may be confused. I don’t think anyone out there is doing it for any other reason than confusion.  I wish I could say that I was such a great person that I'm good natured about this. I know I need a little work in this arena. I just keep thinking, "This is the legal field. Aren't we are supposed to know the difference?"Let me say it again. Take a program; a course; a 3-day seminar and get a certificate. You are not certified. This applies to paralegal programs, seminars, webinars, online courses and more. Take a genuine certification exam according to the best practices of NCCA, one that applies the science of psychometrics; is fair and non-biased, generally given in a secured facility; sometimes proctored; and with legitimate credentials based on knowledge, skills and experience. You have probably just gotten certified.Why is this so important? Because the legal field should not be so confused. Not only is it humiliating, more importantly it is a clear statement we’re not doing our research. What else are we missing? Sure, we all make mistakes. However, what on earth does that say to clients? Let’s pull together and turn this around. It’s the right thing to do.

San Diego Superior Court Announced Probate and Fee Schedule Changes

  
  
  

The San Diego Superior Court Probate Department no longer accepts orders submitted after the hearing. If an order is not submitted prior to the actual hearing, signed in court, or if court personnel does not specifically instruct counsel to submit the order after the hearing, the minute order will serve as the official order of the court. However, mandatory Judicial Counsel forms and orders on Ex Parte matters are not included in this change.

If an order is submitted after the hearing and does not fall under the parameters of the guidelines mentioned above, the court will not process the order and will return it pursuant to Local Rule 4.7.1.

The San Diego Superior Court has also amended its fee schedule. There have been three fee increases. Those fee changes are to the following:

  • Court Reporter fee for proceedings lasting longer than one hour. The fee has increased from $394 to $403 for a half day, and from $788 to $806 for a full day.

  • Interpreter fees have increased from $67 to $73 an hour.

  • Off site retrieval of documents: Standard retrieval increased from $10 to $18. Same day retrieval rates have increased from $15 to $20, and emergency retrieval rates have increased from $20 to $28.

Check out the revised fee schedule for more information.

If you would like training on eFiling in San Diego Superior Court, you can sign up for our free, MCLE accredited webinar here! You can also contact our Training team with any questions.

San Diego Superior Court Amends Fee Schedule and Probate Rules

Tips to Avoid a Rejected eFiling in San Francisco Superior Court

  
  
  

It's time for the next installment of our Instant Expert series! Continuing our quest to help you become indispensable to your law firm, we have created another short "how-to" guide that will not only simplify your day-to-day work life, but ensure that your San Francisco eFiling is as error free as possible. If you are eFiling in San Francisco Superior Court, you will want to review this guide!
 

Click here to download the latest Instant Expert guide.

 

Our third Instant Expert guide provides you with four must-know tips on ensuring that your eFiling is accepted. Reasons for rejected eFilings include:

  • Failure to comply with San Francisco local rule 2.10

  • Incorrect PDF submissions

  • Improper word placement in document titles and more!

If you would like to become even more of an expert in San Francisco eFiling and are interested in further training, you can sign up for our free, MCLE accredited course held every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.! You can also attend any of our other courses. We have a diverse curriculum that covers everything from Process Serving to eFiling and eService in Orange and San Diego Counties, as well as in the state of Texas. We also keep you up to date on court closures, reduction in clerk's hours and other pertinent court news.

 

Do not hesitate to contact our Training team with any questions! We are always here to help.


Avoid an eFiling Rejection in San Francisco Superior Court 

Supreme Court Chief Justice Talks eFiling Technology in the New Year

  
  
  

In his "2014 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary," Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts discussed an initiative that would make all documents filed with the court available online as soon as 2016. Currently paper copies of documents such as petitions, responses, briefs and other public documents are available, but there is a lack of access on the Supreme Court's website.

While it is no secret that courts seem to lag behind the technological times, Chief Justice Roberts makes no apologies for this reality. "Like other centuries-old institutions, courts may have practices that seem archaic and inefficient - and some are," he said. "Judges and court executives are understandably circumspect in introducing change to a court system that works well until they are satisfied that they are introducing change for the good."

Although the court may allow for online document access, they are still hesitant to allow cameras in the courtroom and continue to deny making audio available immediately from oral arguments. As it now stands, audio is available on Fridays of the week the arguments are held. You can, however, access transcripts the day of the arguments on the court's website. Justices also do not post their financial disclosures online. When a justice has a speaking engagement, there is no system in place that publicizes the speech.

Chief Justice Roberts referenced the fabled Tortoise and Hare when it comes to bringing the courts into the digital age. He wrote that although the federal judiciary has benefitted from online systems, it is imperative that they move slowly in order to protect confidentiality and to ensure that the system is secure. The proposed technological plan does not provide for electronic filing.

What do you think of the Supreme Court's plan to plan implement limited technology?

 

future resized 600

All Posts