On February 25, I had the unique opportunity to participate as a courtroom monitor in the San Diego High School Mock Trial competition. The event was held downtown at the San Diego Superior Court. What a great experience! All of the students involved put on an impressive mock trial and it was apparent that they had spent a significant amount of time preparing for the big day.
The defendant on trial was accused of second degree murder. She was a high school student involved in the marching band who was diagnosed with ADHD. As a result of her diagnosis, she was prescribed the drug Adderall. She allegedly sold her Adderall to other students, and, tragically, one of the students to whom she gave the drug died. And so a courtroom trial filled with drama unfolded as each side presented their case in the hopes of either convicting the defendant or returning a verdict of "not guilty."
The excitement started from the very beginning, when the defense presented a pre-trial motion to exclude evidence they deemed to have been obtained unconstitutionally. Both the prosecution and the defense presented their arguments, but in the end the defense prevailed and the judge ruled that evidence was in fact inadmissible because the method by which it had been found violated the defendant's constitutional rights.
Despite this blow to the prosecution, the team rallied and presented their witnesses. The student witnesses played their roles incredibly well and actually took on their fictitious identities in such a believable way. The defense cross examined the witnesses and I was amused and impressed by the number of objections delivered by both teams. They cited case law, presented the judge with compelling arguments as to why their line of questioning should be allowed, and showed passion and conviction. It was pretty easy to believe that I was viewing an actual courtroom trial rather than a mock trial!
The defense then presented their witnesses and with a surprise twist they tried to convince the court that the defendant did not commit the crime but was in fact framed by a fellow student and band member! This student had always been jealous of the defendant, had been expelled from his previous school and had a blue backpack that matched the one filled with drugs found in the defendant's car. I found myself eying that student suspiciously as I began to believe the defense's theory. Could he have been that conspiratorial? I was glad I wasn't on a real life jury, as I wasn't sure what to believe! It's a good thing I was only in charge of collecting the score cards from the judges.
During the trial, the defendant stayed in perfect character as well. She played the part of a shocked student surprised to find herself in this position and saddened to have lost her classmate and friend to a drug overdose so well that I began to believe that she was just a victim in this senseless crime.
The time came for the closing arguments, and then the Judge Amador presented the verdict. Not guilty! The courtroom erupted.
The four attorney scorers who judged the competition provided the student teams with feedback. They had some advice and constructive criticism but were overall very impressed with all of the students participating in the mock trial.
Congratulations to all those who competed in the San Diego High School mock trial! The level of confidence it took to stand up there in front of a real life judge and play out a courtroom trial filled with evidence, witnesses, twists and turns is truly impressive. It was so apparent that these students spent countless hours practicing and preparing and it truly was amazing to sit back and watch them in action. Thank you for giving One Legal the opportunity to be a part of such a fun event!
Guilty or Not Guilty? I can hardly stand the suspense!
We've recently updated our page with an item for San Bernardino Superior court. Click here to take a look, especially if you have a court filing in this jurisdiction!
We've also done a bit of clean up and removed many outdated items. If you have any questions about any items that have been removed, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On February 13, I attended meeting for MCLE providers at the California State Bar in Los Angeles. As you may have read, there will be amendments made to the current MCLE rules effective July 1 of this year. Below are some of the highlights from the meeting:
The required number of MCLE hours will remain 25 hours over a 36 month compliance period. There is still some discussion about increasing these hours, but for now the rule remains as is.
Written materials will now be required for all MCLE programs lasting 1 hour or more. It is acceptable for these materials to be listed online rather than printed out.
The "Elimination of Bias" rule has been expanded. Programs designed to satisfy this requirement will now be approved if they offer content relating to both the "recoginition and elimination" of bias in the "legal profession and community."
The Substance Abuse rule will be changed to include competency issues. Programs will be approved if substance abuse or other "physical or mental issues that impair a member's ability to perform legal services with competence." This specifically targets aging members and their competency to still practice law and represent their clients properly.
The definitions for participatory and self-study credits have changed (Rule 2.251). A “participatory activity” is an MCLE activity for which the provider must verify attendance. Participatory activities may be presented in person or delivered by electronic means. A “self-study activity” is any MCLE activity identified in Rule 2.83. Self-study activities may be presented in person or delivered by electronic means.
In addition to the rule amendments, the CA State Bar will be increasing their member audits. In past years, they have audited around 1% of their members. They are hoping to increase these audits to 10%. These audits are random and providers may be asked to verify attendance if there happens to be any discrepancies during the audit. The Bar is asking providers to maintain attendance records for up to 4 years. Attendance sheets are acceptable. Auditors may also be attending provider courses to ensure that the program material meets their standards for MCLE credit.
The California State Bar will be posting the rule amendments once they are finalized. Stay tuned for more information!
If you are interested in attending any of our MCLE accredited courses, click here to sign up.
We've recently updated our page with items for Los Angeles and Merced Superior courts. Click here to take a look, especially if you have a court filing in one of those jurisdictions!
In our continued efforts to keep your account secure, we are updating our password policy effective February 24, 2014. To ensure continued account access, you must change your password to comply with the new requirements prior to February 24th.
Your new password must meet the following requirements:
- Minimum length of 8 characters
- Maximum length of 10 characters
- Must contain 1 letter
- Must contain 1 number
Don’t delay, change your password now!
Should you have any questions, please contact us, Monday - Friday, 8:15 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., pacific.
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NOVATO, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 3, 2014 --
On January 24, 2014, the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, executed a contract selecting One Legal LLC as an Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP). The Court awarded the contract after a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process ranked One Legal as the winner of the bid among four providers who participated in the process. The Court initiated the RFP process in an effort to comply with California Rule of Court 2.253(b) and CCP 1010.6.
"We're very happy that the San Francisco court has selected us as an eFiling provider," said Robert DeFilippis, President and COO of One Legal, which is a California company with several branches in the Bay Area. “This contract provides us the opportunity to work within our local community while supporting the Court’s strategic plan to implement mandatory eFiling.” The Court’s project, which began in September 2012, is intended to support its strategic plan to use technology to improve service to the public, save money and reduce paper use.
As California’s File & Serve leader, One Legal is well-versed in the benefits of eFiling and eService. With successful implementations in the Orange County and San Diego Superior Courts, the 2nd
largest courts in California, respectively, One Legal has been at the forefront of building technology solutions for courts and taking the lead in onboarding and training the civil legal community at large. “We’ve found that customers like the ease of our solution,” said Jeff Karotkin, Vice President of Strategic Development. He added, “Our team is very focused on both our customers and our products and we strive to improve the customer experience on a daily basis. Our solutions have helped our customers streamline their filing tasks and provide added value, such as hosting the file-stamped conformed copy right in our system so customers can access it anytime, 24/7.”
Since the signing of the contract, One Legal has been aggressively moving forward with the technology integration needed to support the court’s vision. Once the eFiling product is available, One Legal plans to offer competitive pricing and free training. For more information, click here
.About One Legal LLC
- Based in Marin County, California, One Legal is committed to bringing court communications into the 21st
century and is the established leader in Online Court Services and Litigation Support for Court Filing, Court eFiling, Nationwide Process Serving, Skip Tracing, Public Records Search and Document Retrieval of Court Records. With a local network of California Process Servers, plus the ability to provide nationwide Service of Process and Court Filing Services in 15 states, One Legal is the trusted source for legal professionals. The company’s services are used by more than 20,000 customers, which include law firms, corporations, insurance carriers and state and local agencies.
I had the pleasure of joining my first Los Angeles Legal Innovations/ Legal Hacking Meetup group last Monday, January 27th. It was held at IndieDesk, which is a co-working space located downtown on Broadway, between 8th and 9th street. The speaker, Adam Long from Praedicat Inc., discussed the effect of big data on the legal field. The first question that popped into my head was: What is big data? Adam mentioned that there is really no standard definition for big data; however, a simplified definition is: “high volumes of data that cannot be analyzed by traditional ways or tools.” The collection of big data can predict future events, upcoming trends, and patterns within the legal field. Adam gave us four examples of how big data impacts law-practice: eDiscovery, legal spending management, litigation management and risk management.
eDiscovery is one of the most popular ways to analyze big data in the law. eDiscovery uses
“electronics” to identify, collect, and produce anything for the legal case that was electronically stored, e.g. emails, documents, social media posts, etc. By using algorithms and other pattern recognition technology to sift through high volumes of electronic data, one can potentially discover much needed evidence and material. eDiscovery has become more and more necessary since a lot of our data is stored electronically.
A smaller niche that involves big data in law is legal spending management. Adam mentioned
that for 2000 years attorneys have charged an hourly rate and presented a standard written bill. Now with big data analysis, all electronic invoices can be analyzed. The ability to see spending patterns such as how much it really cost to finish a project or case is ground breaking in terms of controlling costs within a firm. Another way the analytics of big data is manifested in legal spending management is in the formation of companies like Sky Analytics , who collects firm’s invoices and then processes them so firms have a benchmark on their spending versus other firms spending. The analyzing of spending trends, per Adam, can assist firms in deciding who to work with and guide decision making on which cases a firm should take.
Litigation management is another area in which big data analysis is making a difference. Big data analytics are helping to predict results on cases by showing how a judge rules in different types of cases, for example. With this cutting-edge tool, attorneys can predict outcomes by studying historical data. Adam mentioned a company called Lex Machina , which is a big-data firm that dig ups information from litigation history, helps clients figure out what it means and then helps with strategy on the case. Adam reminded us that 95% of litigation occurs in state courts and big data analytics can directly impact many of those cases with faster and more
Lastly, we learned how big data is changing the landscape of risk management. There are companies, like Praedicat Inc., that can foresee litigation before it actually occurs, by tracking, or example, the use of dangerous chemicals. This chess game, as Adam referred to it, uses analytics on bio-medical literature to see potential harm, figure out who the potential clients might be, and then finally determining who makes and sells these potentially dangerous products. Having all the data pieces can make a huge difference on risk management, he said.
My takeaway from the night was that big data has a much bigger impact on legal practice than I could have imagined!. The ability to analyze high volumes of data to find certain words in a document, to determine what the average cost of lawyers working on a specific type of case might be and to predict how judges may rule can even prevent litigation altogether. What an
amazingly powerful tool for the law firm!
We've recently updated our page with an item for Los Angeles Superior court. The court has updated its Courtroom Reservation System (CRS):
"On or about Jan. 21, 2014, parties with reservations in CRS made prior to Jan. 6, 2014, will be contacted by the Court by email requesting they provide payment or proof of previous payment in order to maintain their reservations. That payment or proof of payment will be due by Jan. 31, 2014. Procedures for such will be provided in the email sent. If payment or proof of payment is not provided by Jan. 31, 2014, the reservation will be cancelled. Once the payment is made, the fees are non-refundable."
Click here to view the court's notice as well as notices for other courts in California.
We've also updated the fee schedules for all California Superior Courts and here's a video from the California Courts website. Click the image to view.
The State Bar's Board of Trustees approved changes to the MCLE rules for attorneys and providers. You can access the rules on the State Bar's website for Division 4, MCLE, by clicking here, and Division 5, MCLE Providers, by clicking here.
The amended rule will be effective July 1, 2014. The guidelines will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees' Member Oversight Committee and in preparation of this review two public meetings with providers will be held. In these meetings, providers will be given the opportunity to give input in order to assist the Board with drafting the guidelines as well as discuss general administrative MCLE provider policies and procedures. The first meeting will be held at the State Bar office in San Francisco (180 Howard Street) on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 and the second meeting will be held at the State Bar office in Los Angeles (845 Figueroa Street) on Thursday, February 13, 2014. Both meetings are from 1pm - 4pm.
The MCLE rule amendments expand the scope of two mandatory sub-field MCLE requirements: Elimination of Bias and Substance Abuse Education. Programs designed to satisfy the requirement regarding the Elimination of Bias will be approved if they offer content relating to both the "recognition and elimination" of bias in "the legal profession and society." Programs for Substance Abuse Education will be approved if they address substance abuse or "other mental or physical issues that impair a member's ability to perform legal services with competence."
Specific changes to the MCLE rules that directly affect the providers are:
- The establishment of a program of MCLE Activity Auditors comprised of individuals from the Board of Trustees, the California Legal Specialization Board or Advisory Commissions, the California Young Lawyers Association, State Bar staff, or other persons designated by the State Bar to conduct audits of any program or class offered by a State Bar approved MCLE activity provider.
- The establishment of a process for filing a complaint about a provider. The State Bar does not intervene in business disputes between a provider and a member. Complaints about a provider, however, can be submitted to the State Bar and would only be considered in assessing whether a particular provider is in compliance with the rules.
- The requirement that relevant and substantive written materials be provided to attendees by providers is extended to include all activities that are one hour, or longer, in duration.
The definitions of "participatory" activity and "self-study" activity were also clarified. Participatory activity is MCLE for which the provider must verify attendance. For self-study activity, attendance is not verified by the provider.
If you are interested in attending either meeting, please email Lauren Fletcher at email@example.com by February 5, 2014. Space is limited.
On Wednesday, December 18th, the San Francisco Association of Docket, Calendar and Court Services (SFADCCS) hosted its annual Brown Bag meeting where counsel from the Administrative Office of the Courts updated everyone on new and amended rules of court and forms. I was able to attend the meeting via a webcast. Here are the highpoints:
Heather Anderson, Senior Attorney for the Appellate Advisory Committee, brought us all up to speed on some ADR specific changes as well as upcoming appellate rules and forms changes.
- Standards 2, 3, 7, 8, 12, 16 and 17 of the Ethics Standards for Neutral Arbitrators in Contractual Arbitration have been amended.
- There are new disclosure requirements for arbitrators, including one requiring the arbitrator to advise if he or she was disciplined within the last 10 years.
- The Court of Appeal will no longer send the Civil Case Information Sheet. That’s up to you now. Reference Rule 8.10.
- Rules 8.130 and 8.834 (Reporter’s Transcripts) were amended. Forms APP-003 AND APP-010 were revised.
- There are new rules (8.45 and 8.47), amended rules (8.46, 8.120 and 11 others) and one repealed rule (8.328) regarding sealed and confidential records.
- Regarding signatures on documents, Rules 8.77 and 8.212 were amended and a new rule, 8.42, was adopted.
- The above changes are effective January 1, 2014.
- Effective March 1, 2014, there will be new rules (8.874 and 8.924), 21 amendments and 16 revised forms.
Next up was Anne Ronan, Attorney, Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee. Here’s what she touched on:
- Civil rule changes were limited to those that affected the bottom line and didn’t make more work for court staff. As such, there are very few changes in Civil this year, she said. All of these changes take effect January 1, 2014.
- Somewhat surprising…Rules 1.22, 2.101, 2.131 and 10.504 (Mandatory Use of Recycled Paper) have been repealed. This was strictly a cost-cutting measure; the courts requested some relief because recycled paper is more expensive than non-recycled. The Judicial Council is still hoping that everyone will continue to use recycled paper whenever possible, however.
- Rules 3.670, 3.1207 and 5.324 (Telephonic Appearances) have been amended to clarify at which hearings, conferences, etc. a party may appear by phone. They expressly provide that the moving party, as well as the opposing party, may appear telephonically. Time for notice has been shortened to two (from three) days.
- There is a new Unlawful Detainer Answer to Complaint form (UD-105) as well as new UD Form Interrogatories (DISC-003).
Those are the highlights. If you’d like more details, here’s a link to all new and amended rules and here’s a link to all new and amended forms.
Have anything you’d like to share? Did I miss something? Let the community know by commenting on this post!