The Commission on the Future of California’s Court System has developed an online survey to seek feedback from the public, attorneys, judicial officers, court staff, and law enforcement on the recommendations to improve the California court system. The purpose of this survey is to generate suggestions that will help facilitate a plan to make the California judicial branch more effective and efficient.
“The commission is particularly interested in identifying outdated laws, systems, or practices and proposals for new approaches, such as the use of technology, that will improve court services and save time and resources in the long term,” said Justice Carol A. Corrigan, an associate justice of the California Supreme Court and chair of the commission. “The goal of the survey is to ensure that we’re focused on today’s most pressing priorities. All ideas are welcome.”
The deadline to complete the online survey is Friday, December 5. If you have any questions you can contact FuturesCommission@jud.ca.gov. The Commission on the Future of California’s Court System was formulated to study and make recommendations to improve the state’s court operations and accessibility. The commission plans to examine ways to increase efficiency in civil, criminal, traffic, juvenile, and family law matters within the next two years. They are also looking for ways to fiscally stabalize the California court system suffering from a lack of funds.
Will you be providing feedback?
Almost one year ago, eFiling became mandatory for all civil case types in 10 Texas counties. Today, there are 109 counties and 290 courts utilizing the efiletexas.gov eFiling system. In just the first six months of the eFiling mandate, over 2 million filings were processed through the system! The Texas courts project that by January 2015, around 90% of all civil and family law filings will be done electronically. As more Texas counties move toward mandated eFiling, the Texas Bar has put out an article with eight tips on easing into the transition as seamlessly as possible. A few of their tips include:
Bookmark and add hyperlinks! You must convert all documents into a text searchable PDF format to eFile your documents. Make sure that you have a PDF program such as Adobe Acrobat or something comparable so that you can utilize this functionality. Because judges and research attorneys are now viewing your documents electronically, it is imperative to make your filing easy to navigate. Inserting hyperlinks for citations and bookmarking exhibits ensure that your document is easy to review.
Filings may be returned for correction without affecting your deadline! If a clerk returns your document for correction under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 21(f)(11) and 21c(e), it is still considered filed at the time it was submitted to the EFSP. The system provides a history of all eFiling transactions, so all you need to do is correct the errors and send it back to the clerk.
You must eServe opposing counsel if they are registered to eFile. In addition to having the ability to eServe documents you have eFiled, you also have the option to eServe discovery as well. Think of all the time, paper and money you can save!
Did you know that we offer eFiling in Texas? You can learn more tips and tricks as well as the eFiling rules and procedures by attending our Texas Two Step webinar! As always, don't hesitate to contact our Training team with questions.
We want to know - do you eFile in Texas?
San Francisco Superior Court has issued a mandate that all general Civil case types, with the exception of Unlawful Detainer and Small Claims matters, must be eFiled effective December 8, 2014. We are happy to announce that One Legal, especially as a local Bay-Area based company, supports the court's eFiling and eService mandate.
With our new and modern eFiling solution, you will experience:
A smooth, easy to use workflow. Some of you may have already experienced our eFiling workflow in San Diego and Orange County!
Local Customer Support with in-depth court knowledge.
Innovative features including the ability to access your conformed copies from within our application! This will provide you with anytime access to your filed-endorsed copies without having to visit the court's website.
Free MCLE accredited training to improve your efficiency and productivity!
To celebrate the launch of our eFiling product and in order to support the San Francisco Superior Court mandate, we are offering free eFiling and eService for the first 30 days! You can find out more about the mandate and other important information as well as download our Welcome Packet here!
While you may have attended one of our Tools of the Trade training, we know that the real questions begin when you actually have to do a Filing or a Process Serve! Not to worry - your Product Training and Research Team has you covered. We have created a quick-read training guide to help you complete your Physical Filing and Process Service with ease! Click here to access our new training materials.
We are always striving to provide you with the best training materials we can. When you have had a chance to see what we've been busy creating, we want your feedback! Email Brooke Greene with your thoughts on our new and improved guides.
We have 25 years of experience which comes in handy when you need someone to file your documents with a respective court or serve your documents. We have knowledge of local rules so you don't have to spend a good portion of your day trying to figure out the idiosyncrasies of the court in which you are trying to file. We have 58 superior courts in California, and sometimes it feels like there are 58 different sets of rules to follow! Our court runners are at the court all day long and have learned what the clerks expect in order to get your documents filed in a timely fashion. You can also file and serve within the same transaction, so you can have all of your filing and process service needs met in one click.
Need additional training? Sign up for any of our free, MCLE accredited courses for more information!
You can always count on us to provide you with the tools, information and personal assistance you need to excel at your firm – each and every day!
In an attempt to show their commitment to fighting for a wage increase, San Joaquin County Superior Court clerks have voted to authorize a strike should their union decide it is an appropriate course of action. Due to the California court budget crisis, county clerks say that they have had to deal with an increased workload and furlough days. They now want increased compensation as they believe that the crisis is over and the court now has the money to give the clerks a raise.
Eighty-one percent of the SEIU Local 1021 union members voted to authorize a potential strike, and the authorization passed with 88 percent of voters in favor. However, it has not been disclosed when this strike may occur or how the possible strike could impact court services.
Court clerks also want to extend court hours. The Stockton courthouse currently closes at 3:00 pm. Court officials do not believe that they are ready for this, although they do say that improvements are in the works. Such improvements include reopening the Lodi branch.
The San Francisco Superior Court clerks recently went on strike in October, disrupting court operations the day after the Columbus Day holiday. They too demanded an increase in wages. An agreement has not yet been reached.
What do you think of this potential strike in San Joaquin County?
Kings County Superior Court requested supplemental funding from the Judicial Council, which was approved at its October 27-28 public meeting. The $509,000 in additional funding was granted because the court finds itself in an emergency situtuation, finding itself in a dire budget shortfall resulting from its failed case management system. Del Norte, Mono and Siskyou County Superior Courts all requested extra funding as well but were denied. The Judicial Council sets aside a mandatory 2% of the total funds allocated in the Trial Court Trust Fund. These funds are designed to support California trial court operations that find themselves in the midst of a budget crisis.
With many courts facing financial woes in the past years, the Judicial Council finds itself in this situation more often than it would like. They are forced to assess the budget shortcomings of those courts that request additional funding and allocate the money to those courts the Council deems appropriate.
“This is one of those difficult decisions that the Judicial Council has had to make pretty regularly in the last four years,” said Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye. “This is exactly the reason why the council is a statewide policymaking body, and we face problems as a statewide judiciary. We need to advocate as a branch for adequate new investment to address the budget reductions and reduced levels of services affecting all of our courts.”
Other items on the agenda at the meeting included the damage done to the Napa Superior Court as a result of the earthquake that occured on August 24. According to the Judicial Council, there are many California courts that are at a critical seismic risk. Should some of these courts experience a good sized earthquake, it could cause structural damage and negatively impact court operations. Napa's courthouse is expected to be closed anywhere from two to four years.
You can read the entire meeting agenda here.
We've recently updated our page with items for Alameda, Amador, Los Angeles, Merced and Riverside Superior courts. Click here to take a look, especially if you have a court filing in one of those jurisdictions!
Riverside Superior Court just released a public notice announcing that effective December 1, 2014, the filing deadline will be 4:00 p.m. for all filing types. This includes in person, eFiling, drop box and fax filings. Any document left in the drop box after 4:00 p.m. will have been deemed filed on the next court day.
Due to the budget crisis, many California courts have elected to close their doors early and cut their operating hours. It has been proven that reducing court hours does not directly save money, although some say it does give the courts the opportunity to catch up on the backlog of filings. Some court officials, however, are skeptical of this assessment. The shortened hours are putting a strain on the public, as many people who must get their documents filed are unable to do so as a result of the shortened business hours.
Not only is the early court closures adversely affecting the public, it is placing pressure on California legislators as well.
"People expect you to keep your doors open," said Bob Wieckowski, chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. "If you're looking to file your paperwork and you finally get it together and the court is locked, it makes you furious and you think, come on guys: 'Get it together!' This is something we shouldn't skimp on. Courts should be open as until 5pm. Period."
Humboldt, Plumas, Sierra, Glenn, Yolo and Kings County Superior Courts are just a few of the courts that plan to reduce operational hours as early as next month. You can read more here!
Will these shortened hours affect you?
It's time for the next installment of our Instant Expert series! Continuing on 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 physical filing is as hassle and error free as possible.
Click here to download the latest Instant Expert guide.
Our second Instant Expert guide provides you with six must-know tips on ensuring that your filing is hassle free. Tips include how to:
Organize and track your documents
Use Urgent Service
Utilize the special instructions portion of the workflow, and more!
If you would like to become even more of an expert and are interested in further training, you can sign up for any of our free, MCLE accredited 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.
The Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge David S. Wesley announced that the Court Executive Committee has approved a budget that will allow for eleven courthouses to reopen this fiscal year, thanks to an increase of $7 million in discretionary state funding. Although Judge Wesley acknowledges that this is not enough money to rebuild the court, he did state that the increase does stabalize the budget allowing the court to move forward. Over the last five years, the court has closed 79 courtrooms which has caused a significant backlog of cases.
The court is also facing an impressive stack of paperwork due to the lack of staff on hand to process it. The increase in funding is not nearly enough to make a significant impact, which is why Judge Wesley stated that the court is "pursuing a range of initiatives that are improving access to justice with existing resources." These initiatives include the reallocation of staff, reengineering the business processes, and automated solutions to specific processes. Rather than downsize, the court feels that the implementation of these changes will spare the court the need to lay off staff and close additional courtrooms.
Althought the court is adamant that there will be no layoffs, 55 employees will be moved into a "transition process" which means that they will be required to move into new positions within a year.
Although this news is not the dire situtaitons facing many court clerks in California including those working in Glenn and Amador counties, the court did not address any plans to implement electronic filing.
What do you think of this use of additional funding in the Los Angeles Superior Court?