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2011-06-23 adaptable lawyer slidedeck (final with links)
 

2011-06-23 adaptable lawyer slidedeck (final with links)

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D. Todd Smith's outline from State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting presentation on E-Filing in State and Federal Appellate Courts, updated to include resource links.

D. Todd Smith's outline from State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting presentation on E-Filing in State and Federal Appellate Courts, updated to include resource links.

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    2011-06-23 adaptable lawyer slidedeck (final with links) 2011-06-23 adaptable lawyer slidedeck (final with links) Presentation Transcript

    • E-Filing in State and Federal Appellate Courts
      D. Todd Smith
      www.appealsplus.com
      June 23, 2011
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      2
      Topics We’ll Cover
      The paper in your materials appears in this month’s Texas Bar Journal
      Its purpose and the goal of this talk are to provide an overview of recent developments
      In the time we have today, we’ll address these questions
      What is appellate e-filing?
      Why e-file in appellate courts?
      Where is appellate e-filing permitted (or required)?
      How do you e-file in those courts?
      Where is all this heading?
      I’ll also identify some comprehensive “how to” resources (linked within slides)
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      3
      What Is Appellate E-Filing?
      Electronic submission of briefs or motions to appellate court for decision and action
      Sufficient to satisfy deadlines and join the issues, even follow-up paper copies are required
      What it’s not:
      “E-copies” are electronic copies of brief tendered for the court’s convenience and internal use
      Many courts have accepted e-copies for some time
      But true electronic filing of appellate papers is relatively new
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      4
      Why File Electronically?
      If the court requires it
      You’re a trial lawyer and have been e-filing for years
      You aspire to a paperless practice
      You want to “trick out” briefs with hyperlinks, video, etc.
      To gain a few extra hours—why drop hard copies in the mail when you can hit “send” until midnight?
      E-filing may also constitute service on opposing counsel
      Judges are starting to rely on electronic versions, which can help them be more efficient
      Things are trending this way, so you might as well start learning now
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      5
      Why Think Twice?
      Some additional cost in state court (for now)
      Creating the document and submitting it online requires a certain level of technological proficiency
      Some duplication of work (for now) because appellate courts still require paper
      One of the bigger concerns is handling of personal and confidential information (K. Gray)
      Regardless, the trend is to require electronic copies in addition to paper, so anyone handling appeals needs to master the process of preparing and submitting electronic documents to the courts
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      6
      Where Can You E-File?
      5th Circuit—mandatory as of March 2010
      Texas Supreme Court (but not the CCA yet)
      Intermediate state courts of appeals—1st, 3rd, 5th & 14th are live; 11th says it’s coming online soon
      State-court appellate e-filing, where available, is entirely optional at this point
      SCOTUS requires e-copies of merits briefs, but hasn’t moved to e-filing yet
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      7
      How Do You E-File?
      An electronically filed brief is essentially an image of a paper brief
      But the trend toward screen reading has commentators talking about how to tailor briefs to that medium (R. Dubose)
      Pay attention to that and to typography (M. Butterick)
      With those caveats, mechanically, prepare the document as you otherwise would
      When finalized and ready to file, generate a searchable PDF version from your desktop
      Along with redaction, biggest challenge for new users is that simply printing and scanning a brief is not allowed
      Early adopter or not, it’s critical to become familiar with the special rules adopted by courts accepting e-filing
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      8
      How Do You E-File? Generating the Brief
      The most common word processing software packages allow you to convert a document to PDF using “save as” or “publish” features
      In state court, an electronic service provider may convert the document for you
      Best overall solution is to use software specifically designed to handle PDFs, such as Adobe Acrobat
      Some of these (i.e., Acrobat Professional) have sophisticated redaction and page-numbering tools
      Advanced users may choose to hyperlink documents in the brief (Hawthorne & Cruse)
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      9
      How Do You E-File? Documents From Record
      5th Circuit and state briefing rules require an appendix or record excerpts
      These can be scanned if necessary, but must be made word-searchable using OCR software (Adobe Acrobat Standard will do)
      State-court rules require that appendix be attached to brief and bookmarked by document
      Making record documents searchable and bookmarking them increases usability and helps judges do their jobs
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      10
      How Do You E-File? 5th Circuit Procedure
      Relevant rule is 5th Cir. R. 25.2, but separate ECF Filing Standards are the key
      CM/ECF system similar to district and bankruptcy courts
      Linked on front page of court’s website, www.ca5.uscourts.gov
      Ready access to helpful reference and training materials
      Counsel or designee must register and complete training modules that simulate e-filing
      Must have filed a form for entry of appearance in that specific case
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      11
      How Do You E-File? 5th Circuit Procedure
      Interface is a little clunky because it’s built on an older platform, but it’s functional, and filing is free
      Those comfortable with ECF filing in lower courts should have no problem
      The flaw in this system is that paper copies are still required
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      12
      How Do You E-File? State Court Procedure
      Relevant rules are amended TRAP 9.2 and 9.3, which technically become effective June 30
      New TRAPs authorize the 16 Texas appellate courts to adopt rules permitting or requiring e-filing or e-copies
      SCOTX has promulgated templates and has adopted rules (linked at www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us)
      System is built on www.texas.gov and has the same basic setup as trial-court e-filing
      Must submit documents through third-party electronic service provider, such as ProDoc or CaseFileXPress
      ESPs offer training for their own systems
      Can pay filing fees through ESP accounts
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      13
      How Do You E-File? State Court Procedure
      Some ESPs weren’t ready to go on rollout, but should have caught up by now
      If you’re used to and happy with a certain provider, the process should be seamless
      Downsides are “per use” cost and continued reliance on paper copies
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      14
      Where Is All This Headed?
      Ultimately, appellate courts have to emulate the trial court e-filing model and let go of paper altogether
      Otherwise, the promise of e-filing won’t be realized
      For federal courts, ECF and PACER are well developed and stable, even if old; the rules need to catch up
      In state courts, some developments to watch for
    • 6/23/2011
      Copyright © 2011 Smith Law Group, P.C.
      15
      Where Is All This Headed?
      Texas Appeals Management and E-Filing System (TAMES) currently in development
      Will build upon e-filing and make dockets and documents available for online viewing, similar to what ECF/PACER do now
      Will replace U.S. mail as the courts’ official notification system
      The buzz is that e-filing will become mandatory in state court appeals when TAMES goes live
      A statewide, unified system for e-filing and online court record access is being considered
      Judicial Conference on Information Technology and Texas Office of Court Administration are studying this issue
      Efforts to create funding for such a system through legislative mandate, generally through court filing fees, have been sidetracked by budget crisis
    • E-Filing in State and Federal Appellate Courts
      D. Todd Smith
      www.appealsplus.com
      June 23, 2011