We've recently updated our page with items for Imperial, Riverside and Tehema Superior courts. Click here to take a look, especially if you have a court filing in one of those jurisdictions!
San Francisco Superior Court
If you eFile in Orange County and San Diego, you are likely familiar with the section of the filing process where we ask you to select the party on whose behalf you are filing documents.
Did you know...
By completing this action, the court clerk can process your documents more quickly. And let's face it, anything that lets the court process documents faster is good for everyone. But we're always on the lookout for how you can work faster, too. After taking a closer look at this portion of the filing process, we realized we could do better.
Superior Court of California, County of San Diego eFiling
In our new version for San Diego, you will now have an opportunity to see the relationship between the party and their representative, which will help ensure that you are making the correct selection. We've also added some filters, making it easier to find your party in large lists.
Superior Court of California, County of Orange eFiling
In our new version for Orange county, we've made the same changes but added a little more. In an effort to comply with California Rules of Court, Orange County requires you provide the email address for the representation for any party you are filing documents on behalf of. So, if an email address does not display for the representative of the party you've selected, you will be asked to provide an email address prior to advancing through the transaction.
California Rules of Court, Rule 2.251(d) Electronic service:
"A court that permits or requires electronic filing in a case must maintain and make available electronically to the parties an electronic service list that contains the parties' current electronic service addresses, as provided by the parties that have filed electronically in the case."
Should you need to make modifications to the list that is presented, you may do so within the transaction by clicking on the "edit" button located to the right of the "Parties List" title. Please be aware that any edits you make to the list will only apply for your existing transaction. To make a permanent change, you must file a Notice with the court.
Here is what you can expect to see if you edit the "Parties List":
These updates will be made over the weekend so you can expect to see them starting next week. We'll also be updating our Training Resources page with new guides and videos and, if you need any additional help, you can email our training group at email@example.com.
If you'd like to keep up with the latest news on our product enhancements, sign up for this blog or our OneSource Newsletter.
We know we get some of our best ideas from our customers and we love to hear from you. Do you have an idea for how to improve our products? Join the discussion by leaving us a comment.
We've recently updated our page with items for Sacramento and Stanislaus Superior courts. Click here to take a look, especially if you have a court filing in one of these jurisdictions!
Starting this week, you can now choose to have your documents served by a One Legal Registered Process Server when you initiate a case through eFiling in San Diego or Orange County.
One Legal brings proven reliability as your Nationwide Process Server:
- Process Service of Legal Documents, including Subpoena Documents, in as little as 24-hours
- 24/7 Online Tracking
- View Attempt Notes, 24/7
- Immediate Online Access to a Proof of Service
- We Can File the Proof of Service
- Guaranteed Flat Rates
- Stakeout / Waiting Options
- Address Verification Options
- Expertise in Non-Routine / Multiple-Party Service
Simply select, "eFile with physical Process Serving" when you initiate your next case in Orange County or San Diego and we'll take care of the rest.
If you'd like to keep up with the latest news on our product enhancements, sign up for this blog or our OneSource Newsletter (sign up now).
We know we get some of our best ideas from our customers and we love to hear from you. Do you have an idea for how to improve our products? Join the discussion by leaving us a comment.
Today's State Bar of California Annual Meeting in San Jose started of with a stern wake-up call to litigators regarding eDiscovery. The message from attorneys Browning Marean III and Perry L. Segal, eDiscovery experts with more than 50 years of practicing law between the two of them, was that attorneys need to get up to speed on technology, because the courts are assuming that they already are.
"We as lawyers are facing a true crisis of competence," said Marean, going on to tell attorneys that many in the legal profession are not "computer competent."
"You are presumed competent, whether you are or not," added Segal.
Their advise to attorneys handling cases that are likely to have an eDiscovery component was to get technology vendors or consultants involved early in the process or, as Marean put it, "Rent-a-geek."
They also advised that attorneys make it a regular practice to immidiately notify new clients to hold all material that may end up part of the discovery process. If not, "you are standing in serious danger," said Marean. Segal and Marean recommended that attorneys add a litigation hold section to their standard retainer agreements so clients are immediately notified of discovery requirements when they retain an attorney.
The experts noted that the definition of content that can be discovered is constantly expanding and may now include posts on Facebooks and Tweets on Twitter. "Everything is sort of fair game now," said Marean.
"Electronic information is more than you think it is," added Segal, noting that it may also include:
- Credit card readers such as those used on gas pumps
- Law enforcement's taser weapons
- GPS systems, such as those used by UPS drivers
- Fax machines
Cloud Computing Caution
"It's 5 p.m. -- Do you know where your data is?" asked Marean and Segal to a packed room of litigators. They noted that the cloud is often not the best place to keep clients' documents that may contain sensitive information.
"When you put data in somebody else's box, you really have to do some due dilligence, "said Marean. Added Segal, "Rule of thumb for me: If it's free, don't use it for your client's stuff."
Tomorrow, October 1st, is yet another milestone for the Superior Court of San Diego County, and One Legal, as Probate eFiling goes live in San Diego! It all started with the development teams (ours and the court’s) working together to get all the coding done and deployed (in various phases). Then, once the team felt it was presentable, it was the customer’s turn to verify that indeed, we were ready. That verification was done in two phases: First was User Acceptance Testing (UAT), which our Product Training & Research Team led on August 21st and 22nd at two locations in San Diego County. And, on the night of the 21st, we hosted a little thank you “Meet & Greet” at the Karl Strauss Brewing Company.
Second was the soft launch. That started on September 16th with 13 select firms volunteering to test the system on a real-time basis. Customers at these firms have been placing transactions (aka orders) for both case initiations and subsequent filings in order to ensure that the system is working properly and to give the clerks a taste of what’s to come. That testing has been going very well and ends today.
In the interim, folks have been attending our MCLE accredited program “Sunny in San Diego – eFiling & eService in the San Diego County Superior Court” via webinar and in person. We’ve also hosted two big training events, one on September 19th at the Central courthouse and one last Friday, September 27th, at the Vista courthouse.
Starting tomorrow, October 1st, EVERYONE can take advantage of eFiling and eService for Probate cases.
For more information on this initiative, as well as other San Diego initiatives, take a look at our San Diego page. There you can read a message from the court, see some of the benefits eFiling & eService provide, and find links to the General Orders and eFiling Requirements (both Civil and Probate). You’ll also notice a helpful “Get Started” section, information on pricing and past and upcoming San Diego eFiling (and eService) events. We’ve also included a special offer (20% off if you sign up for our ACH program) and a link so you can sign up for training.
Lastly, we wanted to make you aware that the court has some helpful information for you too. Click here to be directed to its Probate eFiling page and click here to be directed to the court’s Civil eFiling page.
We hope you take advantage of this new service as well as Civil eFiling & eService, which has been going on since March of this year. For those of you who already have, let our community know what you think by commenting on this post.
Happy eFiling and eService!
We've recently updated our page with items for Kern County and Los Angeles County Superior courts. Click here to take a look, especially if you have a court filing in one of those jurisdictions!
San Mateo County Superior Court
The San Diego Superior Court has issued the following press release regarding eFiling in its Probate Division. The release can also be found on the Court's website by clicking here.
Effective October 1, 2013, San Diego Superior Court will initiate E-filing in its Probate Division. Attorneys and the public will now be able to file documents with the Court without physically coming into the courthouse.
Documents may be filed electronically in probate cases where either: (1) the case is first initiated on or after October 1, 2013; or (2) the case is already pending as of September 30, 2013 and has been imaged by the court.
The movement to E-filing in some probate cases is another way the San Diego Superior Court is dealing with the budget reductions imposed over the past five years. Those cuts have resulted in the reductions of more than 170 court positions and the closing of several courtrooms.
Probate Court Judge Julia Kelety says, “Our Probate Court is very pleased to offer electronic filing for court documents. It’s a win-win situation for the court and our customers, because it allows the court to handle the paperwork more efficiently, while at the same time the people who use our court will benefit from the convenience of filing documents remotely. This is particularly critical since budget cuts forced the closure of the North County probate court.”
For court users, benefits include not having to wait in line at the courthouse or leave documents in drop boxes afterhours. With E-filing, users are able to file through the designated vendor in a secure fashion, ensuring all documents related to the filing arrive at the court together. In addition, E-file users have the convenience of submitting documents to the court via their home or office computer, which means extra time to work on their documents without the worry of running to the court to make that 5:00pm deadline.
E-filing is governed by General Order No. 090513, In Re Procedures Regarding Electronic Filing and the court’s Electronic Filing Requirements, both of which are available for viewing in the Probate section of the court website : http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov .
On July 22nd James E. McMillan posted an article on the National Center for State Court’s (NCSC) blog “Court Technology Bulletin” entitled “Why E-filing Fees are Not a Tax.”
It was so timely, I felt, that I re re-printed it in the July issue of OneSource and asked for comment. For those of you who didn’t see it, the article addresses:
- Users pay: “E-filing fees are not a tax because the users who use the system and can pay, pay for it.”
- Cost displacement: “Just as in other new technologies costs and revenues are displaced from the prior historic technology.”
- Government cost and efficiency benefits: “Going electronic can reduce costs by 100 to 400%.”
- Investment: “So many courts have entered into private/public partnerships because the private partner can get loan and investment funding in order to overcome this cost hurdle.”
- Sustainability: “Again the E-filing fees are aimed at sustaining the system for the benefit of all the participants so that over time it can evolve and gain ever increasing capabilities and efficiencies.”
I mentioned in the article that I’d post the comments in the next issue of OneSource, in the “Q & A with You” section. However, we received more comments (thank you loyal readers, you know who you are) than would fit in that fairly small column, so instead, I thought I’d send them Mr. McMillan’s way, and then post both the comments and his responses, here. First, the comments:
- If efiling is mandatory and you don't have a choice, as in Orange County, CA, it should be considered a cost and taxed in the matter just like the court fee.
- How can you reduce costs by 400%? Once you’ve reduced costs by 100%, the cost is zero—how can you reduce it another 300%? Did somebody just make up this number to squelch the squawking?
- My response to "Why E-Filing Fees Are Not a Tax":
- Users Pay. Ain't that the truth. Users always pay for court services, and more all the time. In this case, we pay for the filing and we pay for the forced method of filing, e-filing, whether we like it or not. That's more than ever before even if the filing fees were not spiraling faster than the price of gasoline.
- Cost Displacement: "In this case the E-filing system is displacing funds from, billable time to 'walk the file' to the court, mail, and courier services as that form of the information movement is not as efficient or useful to all involved." Maybe true for some users, but not for all. I used to have an attorney service that charged a flat fee per month to take whatever I wanted filed to any court I wanted, and return conformed copies next day. It took five minutes to fill out a buck slip and that's all we had to do. Almost no cost at all, easy and useful as could be. Now it takes half an hour to get an average-size filing through your system, wrestling with all the input needed to satisfy your system and the court's system, after converting the documents to PDF format, complete with signatures and bookmarking. The cost is displaced to my clients or to me, or both. When there is a glitch, like lack of a proper court-designated document name to pigeon-hole a particular document, even more time and effort are consumed, displacing more cost onto the user.
- Government Costs and Efficiency Benefits: "Thus courts have increasingly used E-filing fees to expand their services to support other connections who those who cannot pay." If that isn't tax, what is it? My client has to pay a per-filing fee that was never required before, on top of attorney or secretarial time not required before, and the revenue to the courts, on top of cost savings in clerk time, are used to subsidize other users and, no doubt, other court functions. What are all the increased filing fees for?
"But the bigger benefit is in overall justice system efficiency. Going electronic can reduce costs by from 100 to 400%. These savings are across the board to attorneys and businesses once they make the electronic transition." Absolutely not true. Maybe the court clerks' costs are reduced 100 to 400%, but my costs and my clients' costs are increased greatly. They certainly are not across-the-board savings to attorneys--exactly the opposite.
I took your survey and remarked on this as well. You have a perfectly fine service and company, although I would streamline it from the user's end if I were you, and I hope you do. I don't begrudge you your business or making a profit from the opportunity. But to tell me that what takes more time and energy and money (from me or my clients or both) is a benefit that reduces costs to me or my clients, is not going to wash.
- Investment: I agree that it would be good if the government were to make the investment to save money via e-filing. Having documents available to the public in electronic form benefits the public in many ways.
- Sustainability: I agree that the system should be sustainable, of course.
- Here is my 25 cents worth on the subject: Once the initial filing fees are charged for a civil case, historically very few additional fees have been charged by the court for filing more documents, motions being the most common exception. So, basically the initial filing fees paid by the parties, plus the exceptional additional fees, support a case from beginning to judgment. Now, every time a party files a document, especially in Orange County (no choice there any more) electronically, the filing party gets charged an additional fee. If, as the article states, it becomes less expensive for a court system to operate once it “goes electronic filing”, then the initial filing fees should be reduced across the board, rather than charging the litigants more by adding on the electronic fee. In fact, what has occurred is that, not only are the filing fees increasing over time, but the electronic courts are charging an addition fee for each electronic filing. Where’s the justice?
Here’s what Mr. McMillan had to say in response:
- There is a critical missing part of the commenter’s criticism of the fee for mandatory e-filing for each and every submission; it is the fact that it still takes time, materials (paper and ink.. trust me in developing countries this is not a trivial cost), and transportation. In the 1990’s West Group did a study and found that standard filing cost $25 per document while E-filing was under $10. Of course this cost has increased, as energy costs are significantly higher now than 17 years ago when this study was done. Not to say that electrons are free but they are pretty close. So even if Orange County say charges $10 per submission – if the preparation cost is $10 the attorney is still saving their clients $5 per filing.
- Again, E-filing fees redirect/displace the traditional costs. And the argument that the attorney can simply walk to the courthouse ignores the fact that they are either billing their clients for that time (and perhaps padding their billing) or they are eating that cost in their personal/firm’s overhead. Either way, that time isn’t free. So the firm should be passing those cost savings to their clients, or else have we caught the filers “with their pants down” charging them for essentially no value? Just asking?
- Regarding the 100 to 400% cost reduction. I don’t know how you can characterize a cost savings of 60 cents per page to 11 cents per page of cost as conservatively as that? The E-Court Return on Investment article explains where those numbers came from at: http://courttechbulletin.blogspot.com/2012/02/calculating-e-court-return-on.html.
- In both instances, attorney/filer and court, there are overall savings just like buying online versus driving to the store. In other words, how many “Tower Records” outlets are left in California after iTunes/Amazon?
- Now the magic that is the court clerk’s office processing and returning the documents to the filer is not without significant cost. The filers don’t see that cost. But with the budgetary pressure that have reduced court staff and even courthouses what is court management to do to try to meet demands? E-filing is certainly one now very proven answer as it has been very successful since the first filing was done in 1990.
- Finally, to be fair the courts do need to develop better systems for what I term “bulk filers”. It looks like the example provided is by a firm that does this type of work say for collections and property matters. In that instance there should be the ability to submit multiple cases/documents in one transaction with a requisite reduction in service fees. A few courts have already looked and implemented that approach including the use of subscriptions for “frequent fliers”, er... filers.
What a great discussion, wouldn’t you agree? We’d love to hear more! Reply to this post and let the legal community know what you think.
Could the court filing you sent in by fax or by mail be stuck in a court's central respository while your opponent rushes to the court in person to seek a default? According to the latest post on The Lawyerist, the answer is a startling "Yes."
Photo credit: KFoster0791
Author and State Bar defense attorney Megan Zavieh writes:
Many courts around the country allow filing by fax. They seem great to time-starved lawyers, but consider this. What would happen if as a litigator, you work feverishly to complete a brief on time, and when it is finally ready, you look at the clock and listen to the traffic report, and you realize that you just cannot make it to the courthouse to file in person at the clerk’s office before they close. Remembering that your court allows filings by fax, you rush to your fax machine and send off the filing. You go home for the night, satisfied with your work and confident in your filing. Only trouble is, your fax went to a central repository in another city – the one set up by the court to receive fax filings, but a central repository nonetheless. It will not show up on the docket sheet for a few days. Your adversary rushes to court in the morning seeking a default against your client; when the court looks at the docket sheet, it looks like you have not responded. So, a default is entered. The next thing you hear on the case is that a judgment has been entered against your client. When the clerk finally gets around to processing our faxed filing, they will not enter it on the docket because there is already a default entered.
I hope this sounds far-fetched, because it should never happen. When a court issues rules allowing filings in various manners, it should take into account all the different ways a filing might be made before entering a default. When a court sets up a procedure to file by fax, it should set up infrastructure so that those faxed filings are handled with the same care and timeliness of an in-person filing. Yes, it should.
But what if I told you that this does happen, and that at least some courts with these procedures have no efficient way of handling fax filings, and that in these courts, a default may be taken despite a faxed response to a pleading, while the fax sits gathering dust in the central repository awaiting entry onto a docket sheet?
How to Avoid This
The Lawyerist article notes that practices such as faxing opposing counsel, sending a courtesy copy to the judge or calling the clerk can help filers avoid this pitfall in the legal system.
If you are filing with One Legal, then you need not be concerned about this. One Legal either files electronically directly into a court's case management system or, if the court is not yet enabled for eFiling, we send a One Legal team member to the clerk's window to file directly with the court. Our court filings bypass the central repository where faxed and mailed filings are processed. In these days of reduced staffing at many courts due to budget cuts, we find this is the best way to ensure our customers' filings are entered into the docket as soon as possible.
To read the rest of Megan's article on The Lawyerist, please click here.