5 Tips on How to Avoid Remote Work Burnout

We take a closer look at why “Working From Home” has become “Living At Work” and how to avoid the pitfalls.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, surveys showed that only about 29% of Americans were able to work from home, and 43% were working from home part-time or more. Starting in late March, with stay-at-home orders across the nation, that number skyrocketed, enabling more than 63% of workers to realize their #WFH dreams, whether or not they were ready. Working from home is attractive because it is usually associated with flexibility, work-life balance, saving commute time and other commute-related expenses. And if they are a parent – spending more time with children is also a perk.

However, according to recent data from NordVPN, which tracks when users connect and disconnect from its service, workers are now clocking an average of 3 more hours per day than they were when they worked in an office. Workers reported being stressed, overworked, and burned out.

Huda Idrees, the chief executive officer of Dot Health, a Toronto-based technology startup, confirms that her employees are working, on average, 12-hour days, up from 9 hours pre-pandemic. “We’re at our computers very early because there’s no commute time,” she said. “And because no one is going out in the evenings, we’re also always there.”

Another reason why workers are feeling stressed is due to the economic impacts of the pandemic. Many workers know of family, friends, or coworkers who have been recently laid off. Although they are grateful and relieved to have their jobs still, some feel a tremendous amount of burden having to prove their value. This results in trying to be available at all hours, having the “always-on 24/7” on-call mentality. For working parents, this pressure, coupled with the added responsibility of taking care of children at home and other household duties, results in a tremendous amount of stress. In addition, parents of school-aged children also found themselves suddenly homeschooling for the first time.

Now that many of us have worked from home for at least a couple of months and experienced some of the stresses firsthand, it’s time to take a closer look at how we can avoid burnout and achieve greater harmony working from home. Here are a few practical tips:

  1. Create New Rituals and Routines.

“All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits — practical, emotional, and intellectual.”- William James, psychologist and philosopher

Humans are creatures of habit. Having routines is physiologically essential and beneficial to how we function. Previously, before heading into the office, one might go to the gym first, drive their kids to school, or grab a cup of their favorite coffee to start the workday. Now that schools and some gyms remain closed, there’s currently no commute time so workers are waking up later than before. It might be nice getting a little extra sleep, but this actually shortchanges us from the “buffer” time that we used to have for ourselves before work to help us transition into the “work mode.”

It might be a little hard to do at first, but try to wake up the same time as you did before, and use what would have been your old commute time to ready yourself for the day. This does not mean checking email or doing anything work-related. Perhaps this could be time well-spent doing something you enjoy – whether it’s brewing your favorite tea or coffee, doing some gardening, or listening to music – anything that you find enjoyable to help you start the day strong and sustain that energy for the remainder of the day.

  1. Take Breaks and Schedule your Lunch Hour.

 

Schedule short mental breaks away from the screen throughout the day and schedule your lunchtime. While it’s tempting to throw in a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher in between conference calls, multitasking actually stretches your workday longer, and it may also cause you to lose focus. If you must schedule in 15 –20 minutes each day to complete a household chore by all means, do it! But planning it and scheduling it on your calendar allows you to be in control of the time you allot towards it and not lose sight of the most important things you need to work on.

“Breaks” may mean different things to different people, so do what you need to recharge throughout the day, whether that means taking care of things around the house, taking the dog for a walk, chatting with a friend on the phone, or spending a few minutes with a hobby. Always keep in mind that the end goal is to be more energized and productive towards your work product. Be honest with yourself in that the breaks you schedule for yourself is to help you recharge, not procrastinate.

  1. Communication and Transparency is Key.

 

Having said the above, this third suggestion, communication & transparency, is probably the most important.

One executive for a California-based CRM company shares how he communicates expectations with his remote team and coworkers:

“Schedule your day and let your coworkers know how you schedule your day. I try to keep my meetings in the morning since I work with a lot of people in European time zones. This way, everyone knows that my mornings are full of meetings, and so if someone is trying to get a hold of me, there isn’t any second-guessing of why they are not hearing back from me right away. They know that I’m in meetings. Sharing calendars helps with this as well.”

Also, because there is the added pressure for workers to demonstrate they are available and working, some have reported that chat or other collaboration tools sometimes actually bring on more added stress of always having to be “on” and “available.” In reality, there could be other immediate pressures or issues you need to tend to in the background. For example, kids could be having a meltdown or an argument in the other room and you need to play referee. Handle it and don’t feel like there’s a need to fib about it. When tactfully done, it leads to better communication and transparency.

 

When it comes to being truthful and transparent, the CRM executive tells his team: “You shouldn’t feel like you can’t ever have your chat status show you as being “away” or “idle.” Working from home is making both aspects work together and not have one or the other control your life. Because if you choose to let one aspect control you, the stress will pile up, hindering productivity and performance. Being idle on chat may mean that you’re on the phone, going to the restroom, getting a snack, etc. Those all happen when you’re in the office too, so have a meaningful conversation with [your manager or direct reports] that being on “idle” does not mean you are slacking off work.”

 

At the end of the day, we’re all human. Humans working – through a pandemic – at home. If we dare to show this side of us (while, of course, remaining professional), it encourages our coworkers also to share and do the same. And when we share, we can empathize and be flexible with each other, ultimately building trust and respect.

  1. Set Boundaries and Expectations.

 

How many of us have had that annoying coworker that plays music at their cubicle too loud? Or that friendly but too-chatty coworker who interrupts your work and focus throughout the day? Only now, there’s isn’t HR you can complain to because you live with these new “coworkers”!

 

Communicate boundaries and expectations with those you share your living space with, such as your spouse, children, or roommate. Assign roles and responsibilities and create ground rules ahead of time by discussing these hard questions together:

  • What are our work hours?
  • Who will tend to the kids if they need attention or help with something?
  • Whenever possible, have a separate, dedicated working space. If your working space is in an open area shared with others, layout ground rules on what noises, activities, and distractions are acceptable.
  • If family pets become disruptive, who will help tend to them?
  • Who will prep meals? Who will help with clean up?
  • If there isn’t another adult available, communicate with children ahead of time, and explain what they need to do if they need your help. Create visual signs to show your availability (i.e., “On a Call – DO NOT DISTURB,” etc.) and perhaps designate pockets of time on a written schedule so they know when they can have your attention throughout the day.
  1. Unplug at the End of the Workday.

 

As mentioned earlier, without commute times, workers are waking up later, but also staying up later, further blurring the lines between work and home and likely adding to the burnout. Interestingly enough, although wake-up times have shifted later, NordVPN found that peak email time has crept up an hour earlier to 9 a.m. versus 10 a.m. pre-pandemic, indicating workers are likely not allowing a buffer of personal time before jumping right into work.

Employees are also logging back in late at night. Surfshark, another VPN provider, has seen spikes in usage from midnight to 3 a.m. that were not present before the coronavirus outbreak. To combat this, try going to bed the same time as you did before the pre-pandemic days, allowing yourself enough sleep each night to recharge. Getting enough rest is essential so that you can start the next morning fresh and on the right foot.

Remember setting boundaries? Resist the temptation to respond to that email at 2 a.m. (unless of course, it’s an emergency, but again, communicate those expectations with your team ahead of time), or even scanning through email with your phone as you lay in bed. Doing so prevents your brain from entirely “shutting down.” Some studies show blue light is harmful to your eyes and disrupts your sleep cycle. Instead, try out some of these healthy habits and routines:

  • Physically distance yourself from work during your usual “clock-out” times
  • Go to bed at a decent hour
  • Wake up earlier, even with no commute time
  • Take a few minutes to plan your day BEFORE you check email (as that ONE email could sometimes derail your entire plan for the day) – become proactive and not reactive
  • Designate a specific time during the day to review and respond to non-urgent email

By implementing some of these tips, you will create the physical and psychological boundaries needed to differentiate between “home” and “work,” allowing for better focus and less stress. We all want to do a good job, and being proactive in preventing stress and burnout will allow you to achieve that more easily.


Guide: eFiling Basics for Beginners

More and more county courts in California are making the switch from paper court filing to electronic filing (eFiling). At Rapid Legal, we’ve made it our business to help demystify eFiling and make it simple for legal professionals. Here’s what you need to know – all in one place – to understand eFiling and get started.

 

What is eFiling?

 

Electronic filing, or eFiling, is the method of electronically submitting your legal documents to the court via the internet and typically requires the user to select an approved eFiling Service Provider (EFSP) in which to eFile their legal documents. Federal, state, and municipal courts have varying rules and regulations for eFiled documents. In many courts, electronic filing is mandatory and they do not allow in-person physical filing. Thus, it is more important than ever to ready your law firm for the transition to eFiling.

 

How Does eFiling Work?

 

If you’re still doing traditional filing, depending on the size of your firm, the process probably looks a little something like this:

  1. Finalize and print the document.
  2. Get signatures and make copies.
  3. Draft cover letter, staple, and enclose everything into the package.
  4. Call clerk to confirm filing fees.
  5. Pay filing fees (this may require a call to accounting).
  6. Contact runner or courier for pick-up.
  7. Contact process server to serve papers.
  8. Wait for file stamp from the runner/courier.
  9. Scan and file hard copies of completed documents.

The average firm, depending on size, probably spends between 1-2 hours to file the old-fashioned way.  That translates into tremendous staff time, the expense of hiring runners or couriers, and billable time lost.  When you add in court filing fees and copying expenses, it is no wonder that a firm can spend $500 or more to file a simple 10-page document.

Now consider eFiling:

 

  1. Go to your preferred Electronic Filing Service Provider’s (EFSP) website and log into your account.
  2. Place your eFiling order and provide online payment.
  3. Upon hitting “Submit” for your order, the EFSP files your document directly with the court’s electronic filing manager (EFM) where the documents can be processed into the court’s case management system.
  4. The Court accepts or rejects the eFiled documents and then the EFSP delivers a confirmation of processing and the associated conformed documents straight into your account when ready. A copy is also sent via email.
  5. All along the way, the EFSP sends you order status notifications from submission to completion to keep you informed.

This diagram gives a high-level overview of how eFiling works:
eFiling workflow
 
As a certified Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) with the Court, Rapid Legal’s technology is integrated with the Court’s Electronic Filing Manager (EFM). This integration enables filers to electronically file documents directly with the court through Rapid Legal.

In summary, eFiling is a truly integrated, end-to-end data exchange solution, connecting law firms and EFSPs directly to the courts.

 

Advantages of eFiling

 

The biggest advantages of eFiling over traditional filing methods are that it is significantly faster to process and it reduces the amount of printed paper. Traditional filing meant that law firms needed to have a document runner to deliver multiple paper copies of legal documents and pleadings to the corresponding courts and parties. There is also less room for error as data entry errors will likely be caught before you complete the process.
 
Other advantages of eFiling include:

 

  • eFiling takes half as many steps and likely half as many people over paper filing. This translates to substantial cost savings and frees your time to serve your clients and grow your practice.
  • eFiling can be done at any time from any location, so you have the freedom to file documents whenever and wherever it’s convenient for you.
  • eFiling deadlines are typically later, like 11:59 pm* in Orange County and Los Angeles County, than for paper filings which need to be delivered at the courthouse by the time the court closes that day. (*Note: Rapid Legal’s eFiling deadline is 11:45 pm, the buffer is to ensure there are no transmission issues).
  • eFiling reduces the time effort needed to manage files, which ultimately allows you to serve your clients better.
  • eFiling can reduce the risk of paper files being misplaced or lost. Additionally, the use of digital files reduces the likelihood of unauthorized tampering or modification of original documents.

How Do I Prepare for eFiling?

To get started with eFiling, here is a helpful checklist to guide you:

1. Make sure you have the right tools in place.

 

First, you’ll want to make sure you have a scanner with at least 300 dots per inch (dpi) resolution. You’ll need to be able to create crystal clear text-searchable PDF documents for your eFiling submissions.  While most Electronic Filing Service Providers offer the ability to automatically convert your online documents directly to PDF, there may be exceptions like when your file is too large for their conversion capability which will require you to do the conversion yourself or seek assistance from their customer support team. Therefore, you’ll need PDF software, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro. This will allow you to easily organize and bookmark exhibits, as well as create text-searchable documents, so you can comply with the local court’s eFiling rules.

2. Start early and prepare for the unexpected.

 

Just like any new technology, adopting eFiling into your law practice can require some time and patience at the start. And the unexpected will inevitably occur at the worst time. Although you can theoretically file your documents at 11:59 pm* on your filing deadline for a court, you should allow at least a 30-minute buffer in case of the unexpected. (*Note: Rapid Legal’s eFiling deadline is 11:45 pm, the buffer is to ensure there are no transmission issues).

3. Be familiar with common eFiling rejection reasons and know how to avoid them. Here are the top 8 to watch out for:

 

  • Party’s name does not match the name listed on the initial lead document
    • For example: If the plaintiff’s name on the caption of the complaint shows “Jane C. Doe”, then it must be entered to match throughout the eFiling. If the defendant’s name is “John Doe, an individual”, it must also be entered to match, including “an individual”.
  • Incorrect case type has been selected
    • The case type must match the selection on the Civil Case Cover Sheet.
  • Incorrect document type has been selected
    • If the document is for a “judgment,” then that specific category must be selected.
    • Following that selection, choose the document title within that category.
  • Wrong case number has been listed somewhere on the filing
    • The case number appears in multiple locations, and it must always be listed correctly, or the document may be rejected.
  • Wrong court location has been selected
    • For example, on its website, San Diego Superior Court provides a Filing Court Locator that can help you determine which courthouse they should be using.
  • Issues with the filing itself, like uploading the wrong filing, submitting the filing in the wrong format, having the wrong name on the saved filing, improper scanning, or not including the required attachments
    • Some of these issues can be fixed through higher levels of diligence. Others are more technical, especially when it comes to scanning documents — ensuring you’re saving scanned docs in black and white, and that these documents are being scanned exclusively in PDF format. Your printer settings should also be set to a resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi) to make your scanned documents clearer and easy to read.
  • PDF is not text searchable
    • California state law requires that electronic filings be text-searchable, although historically not all courts have been enforcing the requirement. PDFs are not automatically text searchable. They can be made text-searchable using tools such as Adobe Acrobat
  • Keep file size limitations in mind
    • File size limitations may vary by court and EFSP. In general, 25 megabytes per document and 60 megabytes per e-filing transaction is a good guideline. The majority of filings can be submitted with ease through the EFSP.

 

4. Carefully choose your Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP).

 

Your EFSP is the provider who connects you to the court and allows you to electronically submit your court documents, whether it’s through a third-party electronic filing manager or directly into a court case management system (CCMS). Essentially, an ESFP is an intermediary that sits between the filer and the Court and provides value-added services, training, and support for eFiling.

When selecting your EFSP, some things you’ll want to consider are:
 

  • Customer Support Coverage
    • Consider the hours during which you can call; what are their hours of operation?
    • How helpful and knowledgeable is the customer service team? Is there a variety of ways that you can reach them such as via email, chat, phone, or a dedicated support line?
    • Is there a dedicated Account Manager who you can readily speak to versus having to wait on hold contacting a call center?
  • Reliability and Experience
    • Research what is their average system uptime and success rate.
    • Find out how you will be notified when your document has arrived at the court and when it has been accepted.
    • Do they have in-depth experience of filing in California and have extensive knowledge of the Courts?
  • Accuracy of Service
    • Research what is their average eFiling rejection rate (for reference, the average eFiling rejection rate is between 10-15% for California courts).
  •  Range of Service Offerings
    • In addition to eFiling, consider other services you currently need and may also need in the near future. Some examples of services include: physical filing, process servicing, records retrieval, courtesy copy delivery, Secretary of State Filing, and county recording.
    • Valued added services. Some EFSPs offer Expert Review and Concierge Service where they will handle your submission from start to finish.
  • Court eFiling Coverage
    • Equally important, if not more, is understanding what courts, and how many, they can eFile into. The cost to eFile can be a tenth of the cost to paper file so an EFSP that has the capability to eFile into many courts will be a good choice eliminating the need to select multiple EFSPs because they have limited court eFiling coverage.

Helpful Links

 

Glossary of Legal Terms: https://www.uscourts.gov/glossary
Listing of all California Superior Courts: https://www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm?query=browse_courts

California Courts Newsroom: https://newsroom.courts.ca.gov/

California Courts Reports & Publications: https://www.courts.ca.gov/626.htm

California Courts Research & Statistics: https://www.courts.ca.gov/627.htm

California Courts FAQs: https://www.courts.ca.gov/2954.htm

Tips for an Effective Electronic Filing – LA Court: http://www.lacourt.org/division/efiling/pdf/Civil_efiling_Tips_for_Reducing_Rejections.pdf

Rapid Legal’s California eFile Courts Guide: https://legalconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/CA-eFile-Courts-Guide-05.2020.pdf

 

Glossary

 

eFiling: Electronic filing, or eFiling, is the method of electronically submitting your legal documents to the court via the internet.

Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP): Any company that handles the submission of documents to a court through an online portal. Rapid Legal is an example of an EFSP.

Electronic Filing Manager (EFM): The EFM acts as an intermediate system on the court’s side. This is the system that takes in filings and processes them for the courthouse clerks to view.

Case Management System (CMS): The stage following the EFM is the Case Management System. After your filing has been accepted, your documents become a permanent part of the court record. (Sometimes also referred to as “Court Case Management System” or “CCMS”)

eService: After a case has been accepted into the CMS, the electronic exchange of additional litigation documents between the parties is referred to as eService.

Dots per inch (dpi): This unit of measurement refers to the quality of the scanned image or document that will eventually be printed. Courts typically require a minimum of 300dpi to ensure the readability of the printed copy.

Envelope: In the context of eFiling, an envelope refers to a group of filings that are submitted together as part of a single transaction.

Lead document: In the context of eFiling, a lead document is any document that requires its own file stamp. Combining lead documents in one PDF file will result in a rejection of the filing transaction.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR): OCR refers to the scanning and subsequent translation of printed and written text into machine-encoded, searchable text.

Portal Document Format (PDF): PDF is a file format developed by Adobe in the 1990s to present documents, including text formatting and images, in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems.

XML: Extensible Markup Language (XML) is used to describe data. The XML standard is a flexible way to create information formats and electronically share structured data via the public Internet, as well as via corporate networks. In the context of eFiling, XML is how the ESFP exchanges data with the court’s EFM.
 

 

About Rapid Legal

For more than 25 years, Rapid Legal has helped to define and transform the legal support services industry with its vision and commitment to customers, the courts, and a party’s right to due process under the law.

Trusted by thousands of law firms, government agencies and companies, Rapid Legal leverages its deep industry and technology expertise, and a best-in-class legal services cloud management platform, LegalConnect®, for delivering premium legal support services including electronic filing of court documents (“eFiling”), physical court filings, and service of process.

If you would like to get started with eFiling, you can create an account here or schedule a 15-minute call with a Rapid Legal Account Manager for a demo!


Don't Let a Crisis Go to Waste – Why Now is the Best Time to Innovate

An unseen enemy, COVID-19, has turned businesses big and small upside down. Most are simply trying to survive, making this crisis the perfect time to prioritize innovation and propel your organization’s position in the marketplace. Read on to find out why innovation is so critical during a time of crisis and how you can get started.

 

We’re all familiar with the story. A young Isaac Newton was sitting beneath an apple tree, when suddenly – bonk! – an apple hits him on the head. “Aha!” he shouts, and in a flash, he discovers that the very same force that brought the apple crashing toward the ground also keeps the moon from falling toward the Earth and the Earth from falling toward the sun.

 

Some of the greatest innovations of all time were discovered and developed during times of crisis. When the Great Plague of London ravaged through the British city beginning in 1665, Isaac Newton was just a student at Trinity College in Cambridge. Isolated in quarantine, the philosopher engaged in groundbreaking discoveries, including that of gravity, and the rest is history.

 

In more modern times, World War I sparked a number of remarkable innovations. Although the zipper was first conceived during the 19th century, the technology wasn’t fine-tuned or widely adopted until the global conflict when it was used for flight jackets and money belts worn by U.S. sailors, who lacked pockets in their uniforms. Born out of necessity during a dark time in history, we now have one of the best and most useful inventions.

 

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.” – Mary Shelley, English novelist

 

It is in times of crises that harnessing creativity is most crucial. Ironically, however, business leaders tend to operate oppositely with many rotely implementing a standard survival playbook involving cost and staff reductions. Indeed, such survival tactics might be warranted, but business leaders should not stop there. Instead, they should leverage a crisis as an opportunity to outperform, and outlast, competitors and market conditions.

 

In fact, global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, discusses this idea in great length in its article, Innovation in a crisis: Why it is more critical than ever. We have summarized and provided direct excerpts from the article with key points for busy business leaders and professionals to save time.

 

What is Limiting Companies from Innovating?

 

McKinsey’s recent survey with business leaders recently found that, during a crisis, many companies are deprioritizing innovation to concentrate on four things:

 

  1. Shoring up their core business.
  2. Pursuing known opportunity spaces.
  3. Conserving cash and minimizing risk.
  4. Waiting until “there is more clarity.”

 

Interestingly though, they also found that 90% of executives believe that the COVID-19 crisis will fundamentally change the way they do business over the next five years. However, only 21% felt they have the expertise, resources, and commitment to face the challenge.

Covid Statistic

New business growth

However, businesses simply cannot become myopic in just focusing on the present and operate as they have in the past. What made a company successful historically may no longer be possible during or after a crisis. Customers may struggle to pay. Channels may have radically shifted to accommodate new needs or workaround new constraints. A stable regulatory context may have changed, potentially creating opportunities that never existed before. The assumptions that supported years of steady, predictable growth may no longer be valid.

 

“Firms are not going to be able to discount their way out of this,” Nicole Auerbach, founding partner of ElevateNext, a firm aligned with law company Elevate Services, said. “The budget cuts and staffing cuts that law departments are facing are going to require them to do the business of law much differently. And that’s going to require innovation.”

 

“Other than maybe the go-to, ‘bet the company’ firms that can sustain themselves the way they’ve always been doing things, those in the industry who don’t innovate are going to suffer tremendously,” Auerbach said.

 

The Big Pivot

 

During the COVID-19 crisis, there have been many stories of ingenuity and heroic tales of companies shifting their focus to meet urgent consumer needs. One of our favorite stories includes local distilleries using their industry expertise and access to resources to make alcohol-based hand sanitizers during the shortage. In another example, clothing stores like The Children’s Place quickly shuttered many of their brick-and-mortar stores throughout the country to save expenses from rent and other overhead and switched to an online-only business. This rang as welcome news for parents stuck at home with kids and other consumers not desiring to shop in a traditional mall in the immediate future. Wholesalers that traditionally sold food and supplies to restaurants found themselves directly selling to consumers for the first time. In similar fashion, some dance and performing arts studios invested in technology and transitioned all their classes online via Zoom. This enabled the studios open their doors to many more students, not just locally, but all across the globe.

 

Companies that were able to pivot and act quickly are finding new business opportunities that they would have never dreamed of before. To do this, especially in a time of crisis, more urgent actions to take include:

 

  • Adapting the core to meet shifting customer needs.
  • Identifying and quickly addressing new opportunity areas being created by the changing landscape.
  • Reevaluating the innovation initiative portfolio and ensuring resources are allocated appropriately.
  • Building the foundation for post-crisis growth in order to remain competitive in the recovery period.

Moreover, research has shown that companies that invest in innovation outperformed their peers not only through-crisis but also outperformed the market by 30% in post-crisis years as well.

Companies outperform
Simply put, crisis or not, the ability to develop, deliver, and scale new products, services, processes, and business models rapidly is a muscle that virtually every organization needs to strengthen.

 

Critical Practices That Have the Greatest Impact on Innovation

 

In earlier research, McKinsey introduced the Eight Essentials of Innovation—the critical practices that have the most significant impact on innovation success. They subsequently found that mastering the Eight Essentials leads to significantly higher performance, with organizations that excel at most of these practices delivering 2.4 times higher economic profit. Mastering these innovation essentials is even more critical now, as companies prepare to return to growth coming out of the crisis.

 

Here is a quick overview of all Eight Essentials:

Eight Essentials for Innovation
The immediate challenge is motivating teams to bring intense focus, speed, and agility to delivering new sources of value. Crises are like adrenaline for innovation, causing barriers that once took years to overcome to evaporate in a matter of days. Entrenched orthodoxies on “the way things are done” are replaced with “the new way we do things” almost overnight.

 

To emerge as leaders from this crisis, companies can rely on the Eight Essentials of Innovation as a formula and a road map for success. While all of the Eight Essentials matter and it’s worthwhile to understand them a whole, research has shown that in times of broad economic stability, two of them—Aspire and Choose—are most important for generating immediate outsized impact. In times of crisis, however, other essentials take on greater significance, suggesting a different order of action. McKinsey’s research recommends prioritizing: Discover, Evolve, and Choose. These three will guide an organization in reorienting its focus, as needed.

 

Testing for Innovation – Is Your Organization Innovating?

Discover innovation

After you have focused on these three essentials, leaders then can address Aspire to reset their guiding “North Star.” Then in later phases, Accelerate and Scale to invest at the right levels and speed given potential changes in end markets, Extend to develop new types of ecosystems, and finally Mobilize to put in place the appropriate talent and incentives to activate the innovation plans.

 

Hopefully, by narrowing this focus, this gives you enough inspiration to get your organization started on your innovation journey. Stay tuned for Part Two of our Innovation blog series, a practical How-To guide – with step-by-step, actionable processes and tips – on how you can achieve your innovation goals.

 

Are you feeling inspired? What breakthroughs and “Aha!” opportunities will you and your team seize during this transformative period?


Will COVID-19 Accelerate a Digital Transformation in the Legal Industry?

The legal industry is one of the last bastions that has yet to fully transform its business processes digitally like other industries such as health care, finance, and media. Why has it taken so long?

As a litigation support service provider that completely digitized its business model in 2004, we continue to be perplexed by the delay. But it is not all bad news. Practice management solutions like Clio, eDiscovery, case research powered by artificial intelligence, and other areas have certainly been transformative to the industry.

Additionally, in California, 21 counties and counting have implemented some level of digital transformation (i.e., electronic filing). With a total of 58 counties in the state, however, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Enter the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears that this virus, and its ensuing impact – courthouse closures, furloughed staff, shuddered offices, remote working and more – has finally spurred the legal industry to consider how to transform broader and deeper throughout its ecosystem with more urgency than ever. More courts, certain client industries and other legal services areas are now being considered too.

eFiling Gets Accelerated

While some superior county courts made the transition to eFiling pre-COVID-19, we are witnessing others accelerate their eFiling implementation during this time period as a solution for maintaining court operations.

For example, San Diego Superior Court went live with permissive eFiling for Family Law on May 26, 2020 and San Mateo Superior Court shifted to mandatory eFiling for Civil and Small Claims on June 1, 2020.

We’ve seen other developments like San Francisco Superior Court enable eFiling for Subsequent Limited and Unlimited Unlawful Detainer (UD) cases, as well as Placer County Superior Court commencing mandatory eDelivery for all case types on May 11, 2020.

Other Areas of the Legal Industry are Transforming Too

And while we know that the legal industry’s digital transformation doesn’t start and stop with eFiling, it’s a strong indicator of how ready the courts are to adopt the digitization of their processes and workflows.

When the courts invest in this area and modernize the way they operate, it brings the rest of the legal industry with it – as other market constituents such as law firms, attorney services, the Public, legal tech vendors and more – follow suit to ensure they are meeting the court’s rules and requirements.

As such, legal tech is being heavily invested in areas like eDiscovery, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, legal analytics, and contract management to seize the opportunity of the burgeoning digital transformation happening throughout the larger legal ecosystem.

Are You Ready?

Where is your law firm or legal department on the digital transformation spectrum? Some questions to consider:

  • Are you eFiling today?
  • Is it a priority to automate your organization’s workflows and processes? How many of those require paper and manual effort? What’s stopping you from changing?
  • How comfortable is your staff with leveraging new technology to streamline processes?
  • Do you need the same number of people to do the work with automation?

These are areas you or your staff will want to be thinking about to prepare for the inevitable change that will come.

Looking to get started with eFiling? Schedule a brief 15-minute call with an Account Manager here.

  


San Diego eFiling Cheat Sheet

COURT WEBSITE: www.sdcourt.ca.gov

LOCAL RULES: http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/portal/page?_pageid=55,1117634&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

MANDATORY EFILING CASE TYPES: Provisionally Complex Case Types (One Legal only)

PERMISSIVE EFILING CASE TYPES: Civil Limited, Civil Unlimited, Probate

EFILING DEADLINE: 11:59 p.m.

FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS: Bookmark documents with exhibits. All documents electronically filed must be in a text searchable format, i.e., OCR. The court is unable to accept documents that do not comply with these requirements, or documents that include but are not limited to digitized signatures, fillable forms, or a negative image. eFilers are required to enter all parties listed on the document being filed, if the party is not already a part of the case. (If the filer is submitting a new complaint, ALL parties must be entered.) If all parties are not entered, the transaction will be rejected.

COURTESY COPIES:

  • If a hearing is set within 48 hours of documents filed, litigant to provide hard copies of documents in court with the eFiling Transaction ID noted in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of the document.
  • Exhibits to be considered via a Notice of Lodgment shall not be attached to the electronically filed Notice of Lodgment; instead, the submitting party must provide the assigned department with hard copies of the exhibits with a copy of the Notice of Lodgment that includes the eFiling Transaction ID# noted in the upper right hand corner.
  • For Construction Defect cases assigned to D62, refer to the department’s Policies & Procedures on the court’s website for further details regarding courtesy copies.

LIMITATIONS ON FILINGS: Notwithstanding any other provision of law or this rule, the following may not be eFiled:

  • Name Change Petitions (Safe at Home).
  • Civil Harassment TRO/RO
  • Workplace Violence TRO/RO
  • Elder Abuse TRO/RO
  • Stand-alone exhibits
  • Transitional Housing Program Misconduct TRO/RO
  • School Violence Prevention TRO/RO
  • Out-of-State Commission Subpoenas
  • Undertaking/Surety Bonds
  • Requests for Payment of Trust Funds
  • Notice of Appeal of Labor Commissioner
  • Abstracts, Warrants
  • Settlement Conference Briefs (to be lodged)
  • Confidential documents lodged conditionally under seal
  • Interpleader actions pursuant to CC2924j

Note: Notices generated by the Court’s case management system are mailed via U.S. Mail rather than electronically served to all parties.

This information is up-to-date as of January 1, 2020

Download PDF

Strict eFiling Requirements Enforcement and What It Means for You

Courts have recently begun strictly enforcing the following rules regarding electronic filings.

Documents Must be Electronically Filed in PDF, Text-Searchable Format

Under California Rule of Court 2.256(b)(3) and California Rule of Court 8.74(b)(2)(a), a document that is filed electronically with the court “must be text-searchable while maintaining original document formatting.” The County of Los Angeles published General Order of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, wherein section (c)(2)(A) further provides that documents must be electronically filed in PDF format. This includes Declarations, Proofs of Service, and Exhibits to documents.

The County of Los Angeles, Civil Department has begun rejecting order submissions if the documents are not text-searchable. Not all courts currently enforce this requirement, however, it is a state requirement for eFiling.

Documents Must be Bookmarked

California Rule of Court 3.1110(f)(4) and the General Order published by the County of Los Angeles also provides that documents must include electronic bookmarks. A bookmark is a PDF document navigational tool that allows the reader to quickly locate and navigate to a designated point of interest within a document.

Self-Service Tools

We understand that compliance is of the utmost importance with regard to minimizing the rejection rate of electronic submissions. As such, here are some tips and links to help you ensure your next electronic filing will be compliant.

  • Making Text Searchable: Adobe Acrobat provides this guide that helps users OCR a document. OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, which is a method of digitizing text so that they can be electronically searched on a computer.
    • For non-Adobe users, there are free sites that will help users convert PDF’s into text-searchable documents. Click here or here for the links.
  • Bookmarking: For Adobe users, this guide will help users create bookmarks in a document.

eFile with Less Worry Using Our Expert Review Service

Finally, we provide Expert Review as an add-on service to help clients reduce their eFiling rejection rates when clients are unsure whether they are in compliance with new requirements regulating electronic filings. Under Expert Review, a Document Specialist will personally examine the key components of an eFiling in three distinct areas:

  • Filing Basics (e.g., case number, parties, signatures, dates, court location, case type, document type)
  • Electronic Assembly (e.g., font style, searchable text, pagination, file size, layout, scan readability)
  • Jurisdictional Requirements (e.g., confirmation the filing contains locally required information such as bookmarks, and mandated forms)

Want to save time, and minimize eFiling rejections by the court? Check out our Concierge Service.

Our program has a proven successful track record in minimizing rejection rates. Contact us today at (800) 366-5445 to learn more about how we can help you scratch one less worry off your list.


eFiling Insights and Tips

Courts across California are steadily migrating to eFiling for all types of cases.

Most recently in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) began mandatory eFiling for most Civil cases with over 50,000 case transactions processed in the first 60 days.  Clearly, it’s a trend that legal professionals need to be aware of and prepared for.

While the majority of eFile cases are successfully filed on an initial attempt, Rapid Legal has noticed the following pattern of rejection causes that Law Firms and Legal Professionals should give particular attention to when attempting an eFiling:

Party’s name does not match the party’s name listed on the initial lead document
For example: If plaintiff name on the caption of the complaint shows “Jane C. Doe”, then it must be entered to match throughout the eFiling. If defendant name is “John Doe, an individual” it must also be entered to match, including “an individual.”
Incorrect case type selected
The case type must match the selection on the Civil Case Cover Sheet. (When eFiling in LASC, also note the need for the Civil Case Cover Sheet addendum)
Incorrect document type selected
If the document is for a “judgment,” then that specific category must be selected. Following that selection, then choose the document title within that category.

California Court’s currently offering eFiling include Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. A more extensive list of eFile Courts supported by Rapid Legal can be found here; California eFile Courts

Rapid Legal’s Concierge Service is also available as a “white glove” solution for any order you would prefer to not have to compliance check, digitally process and/or troubleshoot on your own.


Los Angeles Superior Court Surpasses 30,000 eFilings in the First Few Weeks

Are you ready for the Court’s next mandatory deadline on January 2, 2019?

Since the launch of eFiling for Limited Civil on November 13, 2018, followed by the launch of eFiling for Unlimited Civil on December 3, over 30,000 cases have already been digitally filed.

We are proud to report that Rapid Legal was fully integrated with the LASC on the first day the platform launched and has served as the Electronic Service Provider of choice for thousands of eFilings in the first few weeks.

While the Court’s overall eFiling rollout has been impressive, there has been a high number of rejections in the early weeks as the court and eFilers become accustomed to the new system and requirements. We strongly recommend Law Firms and Legal Professionals give particular attention to the following areas causing many of the rejections to date:

Party’s name does not match the party’s name listed on the initial lead document
For example: If plaintiff name on the caption of the complaint shows “Jane C. Doe”, then it must be entered to match throughout the eFiling. If defendant name is “John Doe, an individual” it must also be entered to match including “an individual.”

Incorrect case type selected
The case type must match the selection on the Civil Case Cover Sheet.
Incorrect document type selected
If the document is for a “judgment,” then that specific category must be selected. Following that selection, then choose the document title within that category.

Rapid Legal’s Concierge Service is also available as a “white glove” solution for any order you would prefer to not have to compliance check, digitally process and/or troubleshoot on your own.

Looking ahead to immediately after the holidays, take note that Limited Civil and Unlimited Civil cases will become mandatory on January 2, 2019.


California Court Holidays 2019

The California courts will be closed in observance of the following holidays:

 

  • New Year’s Day: Tues, Jan 1
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Mon, Jan 21
  • Lincoln’s Birthday: Tues, Feb 12
  • President’s Day: Mon, Feb 18
  • César Chávez Day: Mon, Apr 1
  • Memorial Day: Mon, May 27
  • Independence Day: Thur, July 4
  • Labor Day: Mon, Sept 2
  • Columbus Day: Mon, Oct 14
  • Veterans Day: Mon, Nov 11
  • Thanksgiving Day: Thur, Nov 28
  • Day after Thanksgiving: Fri, Nov 29
  • Christmas Day: Wed, Dec 25


Rapid Legal® Adds the Los Angeles Superior Court as its 19th eFiling Court System in California

As of December 3, law firms and legal service professionals face major changes in Los Angeles Superior Court filing procedures. Rapid Legal services are helping the legal community comply with the Court’s new mandatory eFiling requirements.

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Rapid Legal has added the Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) as one of the 19 California eFiling court systems it serves. The company’s implementation mirrors the LASC’s mandatory December 3, 2018, deadline for Civil Limited cases and its pending January 2, 2019, deadline for Civil Unlimited cases.

Rapid Legal’s CEO, David Nill, shared “We are extremely pleased to be one of the first attorney service providers to recognize how the digital transformation of court systems across the state is enabling cases to be handled with far greater efficiency by the courts and related parties. With over five years of experience as a certified eFiling Service Provider across 18 other California counties, we are well positioned to help our clients comply with all aspects of the LASC’s newly mandated eFiling requirements.”

To submit an LASC eFiling with Rapid Legal, customers can simply go to their Rapid Legal customer portal and select “Los Angeles” from the drop-down menu. All other aspects of the submission process remain the same. For those not currently registered with Rapid Legal, a secure account can be established in minutes on the company’s website.

Rapid Legal’s VP of Operations, Henry Negrete, said, “We recognize the legal community will be dealing with a learning curve due to the Los Angeles Superior Court’s new eFiling procedures that are rolling out over a very short period. Hundreds of our customers have already been working with us during the Court’s voluntarily eFiling period, which began on November 13, to ensure their offices are fully prepared for this major process change.”

Rapid Legal’s prominence as an eFiling provider across California is bolstered by its experience in working with Law Firms and Courts to develop a solution that offers an easy-to-use portal with 24/7 court filing availability, knowledgeable phone support, and a hassle-free satisfaction guarantee.

In addition to Los Angeles, some of the other 19 California counties where Rapid Legal is eFiling certified include Fresno, Orange, San Francisco, and Santa Clara. The company also offers a full range of physical court filing and service of process services across the state.

About Rapid Legal

Rapid Legal® is a leading court filing and process serving provider in the legal services industry. Utilizing its innovative LegalConnect® Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, Rapid Legal enables law firms and legal service professionals to operate a more efficient business, reduce their risk profile, and deliver a higher level of service to their clients. Legal documents delivered by Rapid Legal are executed timely and accurately, and are always backed by a no-hassle satisfaction guarantee. Rapid Legal is headquartered in Chino Hills (Los Angeles), California, and has been serving the legal community for over two decades.

To learn more, call us at 800.366.5445. Follow Rapid Legal on Twitter (@RapidLegal) and like us on Facebook.

Media Contact:
John Vernagus
909.664.9575
jvernagus(at)rapidlegal(dot)com