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Solano Superior Court Status Update

Solano Superior Court

Photo Credit: Nacht & Lewis http://history.nachtlewis.com/solano-county-courthouse/

 Positive Outlook on State of Affairs for Solano Superior Court

The Solano Superior Court has released a somewhat positive status update on the state of their affairs, reports Jess Sullivan of the Daily Republic. Sullivan, who was covering a luncheon at the Rancho Solano Country Club, quoted Solano Superior Court Presiding Judge E. Bradley Nelson stating, “We’re in reasonably good shape, but not great shape.”

Considering that many California courts have been asking for increased funding just to maintain operating hours, this is relatively good news.

Some of the positive changes addressed in the Daily Republic’s Article included:

  • Possibly expanding clerical office operating hours at all three courthouse locations.
  • A new children’s waiting room for the public at the Fairfield courthouse.
  • A decrease in the number of traffic tickets.

Sullivan also reported that in addition to these changes, the court has confirmed a two year contract with court staff that includes pay raises. They have also launched special programs for certain criminal cases for veterans and families with a family member dealing with a domestic criminal charge.

However, according to Sullivan’s Article in the Daily Republic, Judge Nelson made it abundantly clear that as of right now, the court has no plans to reopen civil and family law clerical offices in the Vallejo branch. Sullivan noted that Judge Nelson did disclose that the court is planning on implementing eFiling for certain documents in particular cases.

You don’t have to navigate the seemingly endless onslaught of court changes alone, however. We recently posted an article highlighting how One Legal can help bridge the gap between you and the court, simplifying your day-to-day work life.

The last few years have seen courts such as San Diego, San Francisco and Orange County execute eFiling programs that have been very successful. If you are interested in learning more about eFiling and eService in these counties, sign up for any of our free, MCLE accredited courses!

To read the Daily Republic’s article in its entirety, click here.

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One Legal – 5 ways we help you bridge the gap

San Francisco eFiling

Did You Know:

California Courts have been majorly impacted by budget cuts

“In what ways am I being impacted?”

The California Judicial Branch has recently introduced some intriguing news about the California Courts. Courts have been reducing hours, reducing services, reducing staff, and closing their doors.

Whether this means waiting in longer lines, having to re-schedule your calendar to be at the courthouse during their limited hours of operation, or having less access to legal services, you will have to take more actions to get your orders placed on-time.

Or does it?

One Legal bridges the gap so you don’t have to.

Click Here to see 5 ways One Legal helps you.

Click Here to create a One Legal Account.

Learn More about the budget cuts here:

“In Focus: Judicial Branch Budget Crisis.” Impacts. California Judicial Branch, 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 26 Mar. 2015. <http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/1494.htm>.

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Orange County Bar Association Presents eFiling with Ease

Last week our own Product Training & Research Manager, Lili Daniel, had the honor to speak about the benefits of eFiling in Orange County at a meeting for the Trusts and Estates Section of the Orange County Bar Association.

The prestigious panel of speakers included Michelle Norhausen, Probate and Mental Health Unit Manager of the Orange County Superior Court; Maria Romero, Probate eFiling and Appellate Supervisor of the Orange County Superior Court; Kimberly Shields, Probate Courtroom and Clerk’s Office Supervisor of the Orange County Superior Court, and Chris Trindade from DDS Legal.

The event was well attended by the local Trusts and Estates Section members interested in learning more about the eFiling process. Their interests included: state and local rules, court updates, and how to avoid a rejected filing. The attendees then had the opportunity to address the panel with their questions.

Lili covered key Orange County eFiling requirements, including the following:

  • Signatures: Pursuant to CRC 2.257:
    • All documents filed electronically and including original signatures shall be maintained by the party filing the document.
    • eFiled documents are deemed signed. This means you can use an electronic signature or leave the signature line blank. As stated above, the party must always be able to produce the original signed document, but that version does not have to uploaded for filing.
  • Documents with exhibits must be properly formatted:
    • Exhibits must be attached to the supporting document, not uploaded separately.
    • Exhibits must be bookmarked.
  • Document File Size Limits:
    • You can upload up to 120MB total per transaction (with some exceptions).
    • Always make sure to optimize and reduce your PDF files for maximum page upload.
  • eService – California Rules of Court, rule 2.251:
    • If a party electronically files any document with the court, that party thereby agrees to accept electronic service in that particular case.

Lili also covered some key tips that will help ensure that your eFiling experience is as seamless and efficient as possible:

  • The court provides eFiling FAQs that can help answer your questions:
  • Orange County offers an eFiling Triage line for your urgent questions:
    • (657) 622-5314
    • You will need to reference your Court Transaction number.
  • eFiling Submission deadlines:
    • The eFiling deadline for same-day filing for all Civil, Probate & Mental Health cases is midnight.
  • Filing Fees:
      • One Legal advances your court filing fees with no funds advance fee.
      • The cost of eFiling is a flat rate of $9.95 per transaction.
      • The cost of eService is $0.99 per recipient, capped at $9.90.
      • Courtesy copies delivery (optional) is $26.95 for all documents.
  • If your eFiling is over 75 pages, the court recommends that you deliver a courtesy copy.
  • eFiling Status and Conformed copies
    • You can check the status of your eFiling and access your conformed copies by logging into your One Legal account and clicking on the appropriate order number.

Many thanks to the Orange County Bar Association for allowing us the opportunity to speak at this informative event! If you would like to learn more about eFiling in Orange County, sign up for our free MCLE accredited Training or contact our Training Team with your questions.

eFiling, Orange County Superior Court

One Legal’s Lili Daniel and Jerry Gregg preparing for show time.

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San Bernardino County Superior Court Update

San Bernardino County Superior Court Notice Effective April 1, 2015

We’ve recently updated our page with items for San Bernardino County Superior Court. Effective April 1, the court will require parties to file their civil motion and pay the required fees within five court days from the date of reservation. Failure to submit the moving papers within that five day time frame will result in the automatic cancellation of the reservation. Click here to view the entire notice, especially if you have a filing in this jurisdiction!

California Court Updates

 

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Using eService to Simplify Calendaring in California Superior Courts

Last month, we discussed what you need to know about eService in California. Many people don’t know that you are allowed to eServe in all 58 California counties! It not only makes your life easier, it can save you time and money and create efficiencies in your office. Is also simplifies calendaring! Julie Goran, author of Litigation By the Numbers, has written an article on this very topic. She is an expert on the subject of calendaring. You can follow her on Facebook or check out her website if you are interested in learning more! Check out her article on eService and calendaring below:

eService Simplifies Calendaring in California State Court

© 2012 by Julie A. Goren, Esq.

eService provides significant advantages over service by mail, fax, or overnight delivery; some pretty obvious, some not so much. The most obvious advantages relate to the savings of trees, time, and money associated with document processing and service itself. In California State Court, another benefit, or more accurately, a series of benefits, relates to calculating deadlines.

In general, it is much easier to calculate deadlines triggered by eService than it is to calendar deadlines triggered by any method other than personal delivery. Even more significant, however, eService of notice of certain types of motions allows the moving party to avoid completely a little-known trap that could very easily result in insufficient notice to opposing parties.

The Extension of Time for eService is Much Less Confusing Than Extensions For Fax or Overnight Delivery.

With certain exceptions (see Calendaring Under the C.C.P. — Extending Time Based On Service Method . . . or Not, documents not personally served require specific extensions of time. To calculate a deadline to act or respond or a non-motion notice period, one must add two court days for service by fax or overnight delivery. (C.C.P. § 1013) However, to calculate the last day to serve notice of a “regular motion” (i.e., not a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication (“MSJ or MSA”)) by fax or overnight delivery, one must add two calendar days. (C.C.P. § 1005) Yet, to calculate the last day to serve notice of an MSJ or MSA by fax or overnight delivery, one must add two court days. (C.C.P. § 437c)

This difference among the statutes is unfortunate. It leads to confusion and calendaring errors. A significant number of practitioners and support staff are not even aware that the length of the extension for service by fax or overnight delivery depends upon which statute applies, which, in turn, depends upon what is being served. Indeed, the question:  “how much time is added for service by fax or overnight service” is really a trick question; it cannot possibly be answered without more information. Yet, people answer it all of the time.

eService is so much simpler. Under C.C.P. § 1010.6, the extension, if any, is two court days. Period. This is true whether one is calculating the deadline to respond to a discovery demand, the last day to serve a motion to compel, or the last day to serve an MSJ or MSA. So, calendaring as it relates to any eServed document avoids the “is it two court days or two calendar days?” question.

eService Does Not Require Adjustments for Holidays and Weekends.

Deadlines based upon calendar days (e.g., service by mail in all instances, service of regular motions by fax or overnight delivery) may initially fall on a weekend or holiday, requiring an adjustment under C.C.P. § 12a(a). Unfortunately, many practitioners and support staff do not know whether to move the deadline forward or backward. With eService, that dilemma never arises. Why? If one is counting court days, the last day can never land on a weekend or holiday.

So, in California State Court, eService generally has benefits over service by mail, fax, and overnight delivery. However, the advantages of eServing notices of motion for regular motions are even more significant.

eService Avoids C.C.P. § 12c Problems.

Calculating the last day to serve notice of a regular motion requires the application of at least two statutes: C.C.P. § 1005 and C.C.P. § 12c. C.C.P. § 1005 requires 16 court days’ notice, with a five calendar day extension for service by mail within California, and a two calendar day extension for service by fax or overnight delivery. The need to combine court days and calendar days in a single calculation is fraught with problems. In that regard, deadline calculations will differ depending upon the order in which one counts the two sets of days (court days first or calendar days first) as well as the direction in which one counts those days (forward from the notice date or backward from the hearing date).

This ambiguity was resolved by the enactment of C.C.P. § 12c, which provides that the last day to serve notice is calculated by counting backward from the hearing date starting with the 16 court days, and then adding the applicable extension. However, there remains a trap that greatly complicates the other end of the motion-related calendaring equation — determining the first available hearing date based on the notice date.

Significant detail and several examples may be found in Certainty in Calculating Hearing-Related Deadlines in California State Court. For now, however, suffice it to say that if, on a Monday or a Tuesday, one were to calculate the first available hearing date for a motion, to be served by mail that same day, by counting forward 16 court days and adding five calendar days, insufficient notice would be given under C.C.P. § 12c. In that regard, if one were to count backward from that hearing date 16 court days plus the applicable calendar day extension as C.C.P. § 12c dictates, the last day for notice would actually be at least three days prior to the service date. Similarly, if, on a Thursday, one were to calculate the first available hearing date for a motion, to be served by fax or overnight delivery that day, by counting forward from the notice date, insufficient notice would be given. The disparity is caused solely by the fact that, sometimes, counting court days and calendar days forward yields a different result than counting them backward, i.e., the reason C.C.P. § 12c was enacted in the first place.

The good news is that if notice of motion is eServed, the problem disappears. Why?  Because one simply has to add two court days to the 16 court day period, i.e., giving 18 court days’ notice. 18 court days is 18 court days regardless of the direction in which one counts. Thus, if one counts forward 18 court days to determine the first available hearing date, one can be assured that a backward count of 18 court days from that hearing date will land on the notice date, resulting in sufficient notice under C.C.P. § 12c.

By switching to eService, all practitioners save the trees, time, and money associated with document processing. For California practitioners, eService may even help prevent those calendaring errors which could lead to malpractice. There is no better time than now to make the switch!  For more information about eService in California, including when it is authorized, how it is accomplished, and more, check out the Filing, Service, and Calendaring Chapter of Litigation By The Numbers®.

 

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California Superior Court Updates Page: New Update Posted

We’ve recently updated our page with items for Alameda Superior Court. Alameda Superior Court has implemented universal filing for civil cases. Documents may be filed at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse location or they Hayward Hall of Justice location. This is a three month pilot program effective March 2, 2015. Click here to read more, especially if you have a filing in this jurisdiction!

 

Alameda County Court

 

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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!

how to avoid 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?

paralegal and 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.