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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.

One Legal teaches you everything you need to know about eService in CA

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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.
  • 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.

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!

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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?

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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 uses it.

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!

One Legal attends San Diego LSA Court Update Night

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Filing and Service of Process Efficiencies, and How a Single Vendor Provides More Value Than You May Have Thought Possible

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 at 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.

Click Here to Download this post – Filing and Service of Process Efficiencies- as a PDF.

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.

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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?



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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?

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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.

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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?

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One Legal, formerly Fax & File, offers professional and convenient legal services including court filing, nationwide process service, courtesy copy delivery, and nationwide court research and public record document retrieval. eFiling (electronic court filing), with eService (electronic process serving), is available in courts that accept electronic court documents and eService is available for all civil actions filed in California Superior courts.