How Law Firms Can Get Better eFiling Pricing and Service with a Single, Preferred Provider

It might sound counter-intuitive because competition and using multiple vendors drives down prices for customers, right? Think again.

We didn’t invent the supply chain, but we’d like to settle an important question about it: For eFiling services are you better off using a single, preferred vendor or multiple vendors?

The question is as old as supply chains themselves and the answer may be a simple one in many industries, but in the world of law firms the choice is more complicated. Law firms stand apart from other industries because of the complexities that permeate legal processes. Likewise, those intricacies transfer to the eFiling “supply chain”.

Selecting a good eFiling service provider is a critical decision for law firms. A poor-performing vendor can rob a firm of precious time and money as well as damage its reputation.

 

79%

­Percentage of organizations that achieve significantly above-average revenue growth because of superior supply chain capabilities.

 

Good vendors are good for growth.

To help guide you toward the right choice we’ve created a short list of advantages for the two models you’ll want to compare. First is the single, preferred vendor model, in which a firm selects one vendor from among many that provide similar services. Second is the multiple vendor model, in which a firm selects two or more vendors that provide similar services. As you learn about these models, consider how each one complements your firm’s business goals.

 

Single, Preferred Vendor Advantages

Pricing Discounts

Strategic buyers spend to win, and they know that getting discounted prices on eFiling services helps achieve success. When a law firm spreads its dollars among multiple vendors, it can make volume-based discounts difficult to earn. In contrast, directing that spend to a single, preferred vendor substantially increases your firm’s value and makes it more likely that vendor will offer you a volume discount.

From a strategic standpoint, amplifying spend not only places you in a stronger position to ask for volume discounts, but it also makes it more likely you’ll receive additional perks such as hands-on, personalized customer care, or first access to new technologies.

But why restrict pricing discounts to eFiling? A normal business day for your firm probably includes process service, document retrieval, courtesy copy delivery, county recording, and more. Finding and using a single, preferred vendor who excels across the board in litigation support enables you to manage many services easily from one account.

And, more importantly, because of the volume of your work is spread among several different services, you expand the number of services on which you may receive pricing discounts.

More Time for Billable Tasks

Billable hours are the lifeblood of any law firm and every minute that staff members spend on overhead tasks drives up the cost of doing business. Over time, a law firm may lose significant amounts of billable hours to activities associated with the multiple vendor model. Those activities include time spent managing vendors, inefficient communication, system incompatibilities that hinder integration, and monitoring the quality of work from several sources.

There are also short-term and startup activities that cut into billable hours such as conducting vendor interviews, soliciting bids, and learning a new vendor’s systems. Using a single, preferred vendor model dramatically reduces billable hours lost to these activities.

Another important advantage to working with a single vendor is that litigation support staff train only once on a vendor’s system and can repeat those tasks many times. This makes each staff member more efficient, and thus, productive over the long run improving the firm’s return on investment.

Many firms may also find it difficult to reconcile billing with multiple vendors, which will drain billable time from staff, in addition to time lost to managing the operational details of each vendor relationship.

Visualize Better Performance through Partnership

Selecting a single, preferred vendor means both the firm and the vendor commit for the long term – participating in a true partnership. That commitment provides an incentive for the vendor to optimize every aspect of the customer’s experience, from the online portal interface to customer support and billing. And, when you choose to work with a vendor who sees you as a true partner, you unlock the potential for system-to-system integrations that will save you even more time and money.

How much more? The answer depends on your needs and creativity, but here is an example: You make reconciling invoices and expenses for fee motions so efficient that it saves the cost of one full-time employee.

How is that possible? One way is to pull data directly from your single, preferred vendor’s litigation support services platform directly to your own law firm’s system. If you’re using a multiple vendor model chances are slim those types of synergies will be offered to you.

eFiling is just one point on the compass where the benefits of a single, preferred vendor partnership begin. Firms can use this relationship to automate workflows, automate cost control and visibility, eliminate data duplication of entry, and improve many different business outcomes.

The net result for your firm is a consistent level of service, quality, and favorable costs that set up your own clients for a high level of satisfaction. If you have a vision for improved performance across the board, this model can help make it real.

 

Benefits of Using Multiple Vendors

There is a lot to like about partnering with a single, highly efficient vendor, but there are also distinct advantages to working with multiple vendors. Here are three that deserve a close look.

Safety Net for Your Work

Service disruptions lurk in the shadows of every industry and tend to appear when you least expect them. Natural disasters, power outages, and ransomware attacks are just a few examples of events that can at least temporarily bring your eFiling vendor’s productivity to a screeching halt.

Using multiple vendors for eFiling can minimize the risk of service disruptions by enabling a law firm to transfer its work from one vendor to another. This can be helpful not only as a response to a hurricane or ransomware attack but in the more likely event that a vendor’s service, quality, or performance falters and threatens your eFiling supply chain.

While having multiple vendors spreads out the risk of service disruption, it’s important to ask yourself which is more probable: a disruption caused by a force of nature, technology breakdowns, or a business closing shop? If you have a single eFiling vendor whose services are web-enabled and operate in the cloud, chances are your eFiling will continue uninterrupted regardless of the weather or server-side attacks.

Get a Better Bargain

Pitting rivals against each other is a time-tested business strategy that has survived simply because it works. When several vendors know they are competing for your firm’s business, each one must offer a compelling reason for you to choose its brand. Many times, that reason is price, and a vendor that offers a favorable price likewise offers you a tool you can use to drive a competitor’s price lower.

In the long run, however, this strategy may backfire if a vendor that delivers jaw-dropping low prices in the beginning becomes complacent and allows those prices to rise—or allows its quality to slip. It’s important to monitor price-driven deals over time to make sure the quality and value of service remain consistent.

Give Yourself Room to Move

In the same way that multiple freeway lanes help smooth the flow of traffic, stacking your supply chain with multiple vendors safeguards against bottlenecks. Protecting against jammed workflows is especially important for eFiling but it is also vital for litigation support services that may require human intervention, such as expert document review, process serving, or skip tracing.

For these types of tasks, the multiple vendor model provides a built-in safety valve that allows firms to simply shift work from the underperforming vendor to an alternate vendor. This is done without jeopardizing capacity, and the transition is undetectable to the law firm’s clients. Such a move may, however, may force you to use eFiling providers that are difficult for you to manage or do not offer data you can use to benchmark their services.

 

Best of Both Worlds

Firms that like the flexibility of multiple vendors but also want the reduced administrative costs and potential volume price incentives of a single vendor may find a middle ground by using a single, preferred vendor that excels in several areas. This “best of both worlds” scenario may be attainable from a single provider that has an established history you can confirm independently.

So, how do you make those confirmations? It’s simple; just ask the vendor and its current clients about the following:

  • How many courts does the vendor eFile with directly?
  • Can you place multiple order types though a common workflow?
  • Does the vendor have a high eFiling court acceptance rate?
  • What is the vendor’s accuracy of service?
  • Does the vendor have world-class hosting capability that offers scale, performance, security, and compliance?

If you need even greater assurance that a single eFiling vendor can provide the reliability you need, look for one that offers a satisfaction guarantee. A vendor confident enough to say, “If service is not done right, it’s free,” is a vendor that takes client satisfaction seriously.

 

First Time eFiling? Download This Guide

The transition from traditional paper filing to electronic filing is easier than you think. Download our eFiling Beginner’s Guide to learn:

  • How eFiling Works
  • How to Prepare for eFiling
  • How to meet court eFiling requirements

It is recommended for eFiling beginners as well as those with experience.

 

Your Choice in a Nutshell

At the end of the day, the best way to understand which vendor is right for you is to clearly understand your own firm’s needs. Then, determine which vendor can fulfill those needs at a sensible and sustainable price. Once you make your choice, monitor the relationship to make sure the vendor delivers as promised.

To help you prepare for your vendor interviews be sure to read 6 Things to Look For In An Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) for insightful questions you can ask about service performance, domain experience, software capability, and more. If process serving will also be a consideration in your vendor search you’ll find a battery of helpful tips to guide your interview questions in What to Look for When Hiring a Process Serving Company.

The best vendor model to choose will almost always be the one that aligns with your firm’s business strategy. Regardless of which model you choose, 21st century law firms that select an eFiling vendor with whom they can leverage innovation and common goals is the one with whom they most likely will experience a win-win.

 

You’ve Just Scratched the Surface
Our sales team can help find even more ways to transform your court eFiling into a strategic asset for your firm. Book a demo or schedule a call with a Rapid Legal team member to learn how the full scope of Rapid Legal’s portal capabilities can work for you.


6 Things To Look For In An Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP)

In cases where eFiling is mandatory or permissive, courts in California typically require legal professionals and self-represented litigants to electronically file legal documents with them using an electronic filing service provider, or EFSP. EFSPs are expected to follow proper procedural requirements in a timely and accurate manner, otherwise, their client’s hearings could be delayed, or worse, their cases could be jeopardized.

 

What is an EFSP?

An EFSP is an Electronic Filing Service Provider that has been authorized and certified by a court, or the court’s technology provider, to integrate its software with the Court’s Case Management System (CCMS) or Electronic Filing Manager (EFM) to transmit and receive data, legal documents, and payments on behalf of end users – law firms, corporations, and the public at large.

 

EFSPs offer varying degrees of services, technological capabilities and expertise, including the number of court eFiling integrations, customer support, and breadth of litigation support services. It is critical to choose one that can mitigate risk while driving your firm’s innovation forward.

In this buying guide, you will learn six important factors to keep in mind when evaluating an EFSP and finding the right one for your organization.

 

#1: Service Performance

  • Has processes and technology in place that maximize eFiling court acceptance
  • Returns court-stamped documents and proofs according to the company’s Service Level Agreements on a consistent basis
  • Shares performance metrics with customers such as eFiling Turnaround Times, Serve Success Rates, User Behavior and Order Data

Why It Matters: An EFSP that delivers reliable and transparent litigation support services ensures your filing and serving needs will be well-supported.

 

#2: Domain Experience & Expertise

  • Possesses deep knowledge of CA state & local court rules, industry eFiling systems, and eFiling procedures
  • Has several years of experience in your particular geographic location
  • Offers complementary services and expertise in other areas such as courtesy copy delivery, records retrieval, and court research

Why It Matters: Where you are eFiling matters, and an EFSP that’s experienced in your area’s specific court rules and policies will be able to better serve you.

 

#3: Customer Support

  • Offers multiple ways to contact customer support such as live chat, email, and phone
  • Provides expert review of all documents to ensure proper formatting, filing, and more
  • Delivers regular updates on the status of your legal documents
  • Partners with clients and focuses on long-term client success by continually earning client trust in every interaction

Why It Matters: An EFSP that makes customer support a top priority ensures your documents will be filed & served correctly and reachable when you need it.

 

#4: Future-Ready Technology & Software Capability

  • Is integrated with all eFiling courts, not just a few of them
  • Provides an intuitive portal that is easy-to-use and delivers court-stamped documents and proofs of service back quickly and reliably
  • Delivers custom reports and analytics
  • Has the ability to integrate with accounting, practice management systems and more, to automate legal workflows and leverage data

Why It Matters: An EFSP that delivers more than just an eFiling portal, but also can leverage data, insights, and integrations to automate and better run your business means it can support you now and well into the future.

 

#5: Billing Processes

  • Has clear and timely billing procedures
  • Offers a seamless payment process tailored to a customer’s needs
  • Provides in-depth itemized invoices including available payment methods, amount owed, unique invoice reference numbers, and more
  • Answers any outstanding questions regarding service and court fees

Why It Matters: Detailed invoices and timely billing from an EFSP delivers greater cost visibility and control for your firm.

 

#6: Social Proof & Industry Reputation

  • Has a proven track record of customer success and satisfaction
  • Shares client testimonials on website and social platforms
  • Has industry recognition from legal professionals and organizations who have partnered with the EFSP
  • Offers case studies that showcase the EFSP’s former work

Why It Matters: Positive reviews from customers and other legal professionals prove an EFSP’s ability to provide reliable services.

 

Let’s Get Started

Now that you know what to look for in an EFSP, you’re ready to begin your search. For those needing to deliver legal documents fast and reliably, Rapid Legal is here to help. Create an account and start the eFiling process with us today.


San Diego eFiling & eService

NEW: San Diego eFiling & eService

California Courts Where We eFile

Beginning October 1, 2020, Rapid Legal will be a certified eFiling Service Provider with San Diego Superior Court for Civil eFiling. That means you can eFile your legal documents with San Diego Superior Court using Rapid Legal for all Civil Limited, Civil Unlimited, Family, Probate, and Provisionally Complex cases.

Even better, with Rapid Legal, you have access to 21 eFiling courts and counting, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, and more. Pricing starts at $10.00 per order and the court’s deadline will be 11:59 p.m. Volume pricing is available for bulk filers.

Below is helpful information to get started or download our San Diego eFiling & eService Guide here

 

General San Diego Court eFiling Information

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

Permissive eFiling Case Types: Civil Limited, Civil Unlimited, Family, Probate

eFiling Deadline: 11:59 p.m. (submitting eFiling orders 30 minutes prior to deadline is encouraged)

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 items may not be eFiled:

  • Safe at Home Name Change Petitions
  • 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.

 

FAQs: San Diego Court eFiling and eService

Q: When can I eFile into San Diego Superior Court through Rapid Legal?

A: eFiling is available for the following case types as of October 1, 2020:

Civil Limited, Civil Unlimited, Family, Probate and Provisionally Complex Case Types. (Small Claims is not included.)

 

Q: When will Civil eFiling be required for San Diego Superior Court?

A: No timeline has been set by the court for mandatory eFiling.

 

Q: Can we still file in person at the courthouse?

A: Yes. Electronic filing is currently permissive/voluntary in San Diego, except for Complex cases which are mandated to be eFiled. Additionally, Small Claims cases must be filed in person at this time.

 

Q: How much does it cost to electronically file with San Diego Superior Court?

A: The cost to electronically file with San Diego Superior Court includes the Court’s Filing Fees, the Court’s Electronic Filing Manager (EFM) fee, Rapid Legal’s fee, and payment processing fees, as applicable.

Please note that the Rapid Legal portal provides Court Filing Fee estimates when you place an order, which the Court may adjust at its discretion.

 

Q: What information do I need to electronically file a case?

A: Rapid Legal’s portal will guide you through the submission process, ensuring your filing is complete and meets the court’s requirements. Information you may need to provide:

  • Case Information
    • Case Title, Category, Jurisdictional Amount, Incident Zip
    • Additional Info depending on your case: Demand Amount, Premise Address, etc.
  • Case Participant Info
    • Names & Contact Information
    • Alternate Names, Aliases, DBAs
    • Roles
    • Attorney Information
  • Documents
    • Document types to be submitted
    • Scanned PDF versions of documents
    • Supporting information, depending on the document.

 

Q: How do I associate a case with my subsequent filing?

A: You may search for a case using an existing San Diego Superior Court Case Number. Rapid Legal will then import the court’s case information and include it with your subsequent filing.

 

Q: What information do I need to provide if I’m representing myself in a case?

A: When adding yourself as a case participant, select the “Is Self-Represented” option. You will be required to provide your full contact information (address, phone, email) to the court.

 

Q: How do I include documents with my electronic filing?

A: In the “Documents” section of the Rapid Legal order workflow, you will need to select the Document Types to include with your filing. Documents must be submitted individually in PDF format.

The Court may request additional information to support your filing, depending on the documents you selected. Some examples are: Filed On Behalf Of, Refers To, Representation.

Rapid Legal’s portal will guide you through the process of providing supporting information to minimize data entry and ensure your filing is complete.

 

Q: Are there any document file size restrictions?

A: Documents must be in PDF format and under 35MB each. Additionally, each filing has a 60MB total size limit.

 

Q: Can I submit a fee waiver request for my filing?

A: The court allows case participants to request fee waivers. Please include a ‘Request for Fee Waiver’ document for each case participant requesting a fee waiver.

 

Q: How do we ensure that our filing is accepted by the court?

A: Rapid Legal’s portal verifies all filings prior to submission. While the court has final approval, our system will check your filing for common errors and omissions to reduce the chance of your filing being rejected by the court. A message will be displayed if any errors are detected so you can address them before filing.

 

Q: How does eFiling work between San Diego Superior Court and Rapid Legal?

As a certified Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) with the Court, Rapid Legal’s technology is integrated with San Diego Superior Court’s Electronic Filing Manager (EFM). This integration enables filers to electronically file documents directly with the court through Rapid Legal. Filers simply submit their documents through Rapid Legal for submission to the Court. The Court then accepts or rejects the documents, and the documents are returned electronically by Rapid Legal to the Filer. Rapid Legal manages the flow of documents and fees to and from the Court.


Q: How do I get more information regarding San Diego eFiling?

A: You may also view the court’s Frequently Asked Questions at http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/portal/page?_pageid=55,1844828&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

Need more help to get started? Schedule a 15-minute call with a Rapid Legal Account Manager today – we’ll be happy to answer your questions!


CA Court eFiling Requirements – Part Three

CA Court eFiling Requirements – Part Three

CA Court eFiling Requirements – Part Three

This is the 3rd and final post in our 3 part series created to answer the question, “What CA courts are moving to eFiling and when?”

Here in Part Three, we bring you the current state of eFiling in San Diego County Superior Court, Alameda County Superior Court and two other honorable mentions: Sacramento and Stanislaus Counties.

San Diego County Superior Court

March 4, 2013: eFiling opened up in San Diego’s Central Division.

June 30, 2014: eFiling opened up in San Diego’s North County Division.

MANDATED:

San Diego Superior Court requires the following actions to be eFiled:

    • Provisionally Complex (Antitrust, Construction Defect, Mass Tort, Environmental/Toxic Tort and Securities Litigation Cases)

A couple of caveats exist:

Self-represented litigants are not required to eFile or electronically serve documents in a mandatory eFile case. If they choose to do so, however, they may eFile and electronically serve documents; or they may otherwise be ordered to eFile and/or electronically serve documents by the Court.

A party may, in writing and by ex-parte application, request an exemption, which can only by granted by Court Order. This request must be made to the judge or department to which the case is assigned.

For mandated eFiling cases, San Diego Superior Court has designated One Legal as the court-approved eFiler. For all other cases, Rapid Legal can assist you.

Take Note! The following filings or case types are NOT ELIGIBLE for eFiling, and must be filed in paper form:

  • Name Change (Safe at Home) Petitions
  • Civil Harassment TRO/RO
  • Workplace Violence TRO/RO
  • Elder Abuse TRO/RO
  • 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
  • Writs, Abstracts, or Warrants to be issued
  • Notice of Appeal of Labor Commissioner
  • Settlement Conference Briefs (to be lodged)
  • Confidential documents lodged conditionally under seal Interpleader actions pursuant to CC2924j

Okay, so maybe you’re still not sure which documents need to be eFiled in San Diego? Feel free to give our team a call at 800.366.5445!

You can also view the Court’s FAQs here.

What’s next for San Diego?

The Court is striving to do more to build out its technology and infrastructure to support e-Filing for all Civil Actions. We’ll keep you posted with new developments as they arise.

Alameda County Superior Court

Alameda Court is preparing for the launch of a new Case Management System for juvenile, criminal, family, civil and probate case types. Juvenile and criminal case types are expected to launch in December 2015, with the remaining to go live December, 2016. The Court intends to implement e-filing concurrently.

How about other Counties in California, you may be asking?

While they are not expected to go to full-fledged eFiling right away, there are two other Counties which show some indication of moving in that direction:

Sacramento County Superior Court

Sacramento County has allowed eFiling for Unlawful Detainers (UDs) and Small Claims for several years now. They have made no other provisions, though, as of this writing. Rapid Legal continues to monitor Sacramento for further developments in e-Filing.

Stanislaus County Superior Court

It is projected that by 2016, Stanislaus will look to roll out eFiling.

Rapid Legal will continue to stay in contact with the Courts. Our aim is to continue providing eFiling to our customers to the fullest extent possible, and as each court makes eFiling available.


eFiling vs. eDelivery and eSubmit

Did You Know? eFiling vs. eDelivery and eSubmit Are NOT the Same!

eFiling vs. eDelivery and eSubmit

Most of us in the legal industry are familiar with, or have at least heard of, “eFiling”, but have you heard of “eDelivery or eSubmit”? More importantly, do you know the difference?

Before we dive into what eDelivery/eSubmit is, it’s important to understand some of the history of how legal documents have been transmitted to U.S. courts throughout the years.

Prior to the digital age, court submissions were done in one of two ways: 1) legal documents were physically filed at the court and 2) they were sent via mail. Later, with the introduction of the fax machine in the 1990’s, fax filing was born. This changed the speed and ease of how documents could be transmitted.

With fax filing, a user would send their legal documents to a Fax Filing Service Provider who would review, prepare, and physically deliver the documents directly to the court or transmit the documents via facsimile to the court. All three of these traditional methods, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, are still being utilized today. The other two methods are eDelivery/eSubmit and eFile, which we will cover a little later.

Methods to File Documents with the Court:

People Still Use the Fax!?!

Believe it or not, there are a number of reasons why we are still using the fax machine in 2020. The fact is, we don’t know if it’s going away anytime soon due to user familiarity, ease of use, and legacy requirements. But it isn’t a method without flaws. What a user may not know is that once a fax transmission is received by the court, there is an entire manual workflow that takes place behind the scenes by court personnel and the timeline varies by each court.

For example, once the fax is received, a court clerk has to manually check the documents for accuracy and completeness, accept them or reject them due to errors, and then manually input them into the Court’s Case Management System (CCMS). This manual effort takes time, is subject to delays due to data entry or workflow bottlenecks and can result in human error. Thus, eFiling and eDelivery/eSubmit were introduced to solve these shortcomings.

What is Electronic Filing (eFiling)?

Electronic filing, or eFiling, is the method of electronically submitting your legal documents to the court via the internet. It typically requires the user to select an approved eFiling Service Provider (EFSP) 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.

The biggest advantages of eFiling over traditional filing methods are that it is significantly faster to process, it reduces the amount of paper/manual processes and it’s much more cost-effective, i.e., a physical filing costs $65+ vs. $10 for an eFiling. Traditional filing meant that law firms needed to have a court runner to deliver multiple paper copies of legal documents and pleadings to the corresponding courts and parties.

eFiling is a truly integrated, end-to-end data exchange solution, connecting law firms and EFSPs directly to the courts. This diagram gives a high-level overview of how eFiling works:

EFSP-Court-Workflow-for-blog-1

Currently, 21 out of 58 counties in California have enabled some level of eFiling in their courts. Starting in 2008, many individual county courts in California such as Orange County, Contra Costa, and Sacramento had begun piloting programs for eFiling.

Because eFiling is a fully-integrated technology solution, the cost/investment, time and expertise needed is significant for the court. Some county courts also don’t have the case volume to justify such an investment. Bear in mind that fax submissions at this point are still actively being used, likely suppressing the need to modernize and go fully digital. Thus, for courts that don’t have the budget, expertise or infrastructure to support eFiling, a new solution called “eDelivery” was developed.

What is eDelivery?

More recently, some county courts that were not ready to make the full transition to eFiling have implemented an interim solution called “eDelivery”. Essentially, a platform – or web portal – allows parties the ability to submit electronic (PDF) versions of documents in place of the original directly to individual courts, similar to how fax filing works.

How Does it Work?

  • Electronic (PDF) versions of documents will be submitted by the filing party through a web portal
  • Upon receiving electronic document(s), a “Notice of Receipt of Documents” will be sent to the email address provided by the user
  • This notice will contain the eDelivery submission number and will confirm that the Court has received the document(s)
  • Provided the information supplied is complete and the fees paid are correct, the document(s) will be accepted by the Court and will be filed with the appropriate courthouse as if it had been filed in person
  • Upon the acceptance of the document, an email notifying the submitting party of such, along with an electronic conformed copy, will be sent
  • A notifying email will also be sent if the document is rejected

Considerations/Limitations

  • Not a fully-integrated, automated solution
  • Like fax filing, it still requires court clerk to manually input into court case management system
  • Speed – receipt of filing is dependent on court
  • Separate logins per court
  • Fees may vary and a credit card is required for each filing
  • Credit card is the only accepted method of payment

So far, four county courts in California are using an “eDelivery” solution: Imperial, Placer, San Joaquin, and Riverside. The latter two mentioned, San Joaquin and Riverside, have implemented their own instance of eDelivery portals. It is important to note, to avoid confusion, that although San Joaquin calls it “eFile” on their portal, that it is essentially an eDelivery portal. Riverside, on the other hand, refers to their portal as “eSubmit” so you might see these two terms used together or synonymously,

eFile vs. eDelivery/eSubmit

Although the terminology may sound similar, eFile vs. eDelivery/eSubmit are completely different processes as the latter is not a fully integrated solution and there is no data-exchange taking place. Essentially, eDelivery/eSubmit is really just a step above fax filing. With eDelivery/eSubmit, once the court receives the submission, the process is essentially the same as fax. A clerk will still need to review the documents, accept or reject, then manually input the information from the PDF into the court case management system.

 

To help compare some of the other differences between eFile vs. eDelivery/eSubmit, please refer to this chart below:

Feature eFile eDelivery/eSubmit
PDF delivery of documents to Court’s Case Management system Yes Yes*
Receipt of Filing Within minutes Usually within 2 business days
Integrates with court policies Yes No*
Single log-in Yes No; separate login per court
Email notifications Yes Yes
Fees An electronic filing service provider (EFSP) pays all fees in advance and sends a single itemized invoice at the end of each transaction Varies (depending on court, usually convenience fee + credit card processing fee). A credit card is required for each filing
Payment Methods Credit card, eCheck/ACH Credit card only
 *Requires court clerk to input into court case management system

Which Courts in California offer eFiling or eDelivery/eSubmit?

County eFile eDelivery/eSubmit Physical Filing-only
Alameda
Alpine
Amador
Butte
Calaveras
Colusa
Contra Costa
Del Norte
El Dorado
Fresno
Glenn
Humboldt
Imperial
Inyo
Kern
Kings
Lake
Lassen
Los Angeles
Madera
Marin
Mariposa
Mendocino
Merced
Modoc
Mono
Monterey
Napa
Nevada
Orange
Placer
Plumas
Riverside1
Sacramento
San Benito
San Bernardino
San Diego
San Francisco
San Joaquin2
San Luis Obispo
San Mateo
Santa Barbara
Santa Clara
Santa Cruz
Shasta
Sierra
Siskiyou
Solano
Sonoma
Stanislaus
Sutter
Tehama
Tuolumne
Trinity
Tulare
Ventura
Yolo
Yuba
1 Riverside refers to their eDelivery portal as “eSubmit”
2 San Joaquin refers to their eDelivery service as “eFile” on their website

Last update: June 10, 2020

Do you still have some questions on the difference between eFiling and eDelivery/eSubmit? Schedule a 15-minute call with a Rapid Legal Account Manager today – we’ll be happy to answer all your questions!

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.


CA Court eFiling Requirements – Part Two

CA Court eFiling Requirements – Part Two

CA Court eFiling Requirements – Part Two

This is the 2nd post in our 3 part series created to answer the question, “What CA courts are moving to eFiling and when?” To view the first post which covered eFiling with Orange County and LA County courts, click here.

Here in Part Two, we bring you the current state of eFiling in Riverside and San Francisco Counties.

Please note: This information is current as of January 2015. While we’ve made every attempt to verify its accuracy, you should always consult CCP, local court rules and/or CA Rules of Court. Also, this is only information, not legal advice.

San Francisco County Superior Court

December 8, 2014:   San Francisco County Superior Court (SFSC) mandates e-filing for General Civil Actions (including Asbestos, Probate Trust (case numbers that being with “PTR”) and Complex Litigation cases — subsequent filings.  Initial pleadings are NOT subject to mandatory eFiling, at this time. It is important to note that limited Unlawful Detainer (UD) Small Claims and Probate Cases – except Trust cases – are not subject to mandatory eFiling requirements.

Need more detail about the local requirements for San Francisco? The eFiling rules are contained in San Francisco Superior Court (SFSC) Local Rule 2.10.

Take note, the following must be submitted in paper form:

Documents issued by the Court, Summons, Order of Examination, Writs, Abstracts; Bonds, Fee Waiver Applications, DMV Certifications, and Sealed Documents.  (See SFSC Local Rule 2.10R).

Self-represented parties and non-parties may efile, but are not required to do so. In Probate Trust cases, however, once a self-represented litigant chooses to e-file, such chosen filing method must be used exclusively in that case. (See SFSC Local Rule 14.100 (B))

Can you place your eFiling orders through Rapid Legal?  Yes.

Rapid Legal has been granted access to the San Francisco Superior Court’s e-filing portal for all subsequent civil case eFilings.

You can now place your San Francisco eFiling by logging onto your Rapid Legal account and placing a Court Filing order and selecting San Francisco as your jurisdiction. Rapid Legal will verify whether or not your documents are required to be filed electronically or hand delivered and file them on your behalf accordingly.

If you have any questions, give our team a call at 800.366.5445!

Courtesy Copies:

  • In Civil cases, courtesy copies are required under SFLR 2.10(T).
  • In Probate Trust cases, courtesy copies are required under SFLR 14.100(F).

Worth Noting!

(Another shameless plug)…

With Rapid Legal’s order-assisted e-Filing, you may at the same time request and obtain conformed copies.  With the San Francisco Court’s current eFiling configuration, an eFiler still has to have someone separately go to the Court to get any conformed copies.

Still not sure about all of this?  Feel free to contact our team!  You may also view the Court’s answers to many of the most pressing questions – Check out their FAQs here.


CA Court eFiling Requirements@2x-100

Did You Know? 1 out of 10 eFilings can be rejected by the court.

CA Court eFiling Requirements@2x-100

eFiling rejections continue to plague legal professionals, potentially causing missed statutory deadlines or jeopardized cases.

 

There are several common reasons court eFiling rejections occur:

  • Party’s name does not match the name listed on the initial lead document
  • Incorrect case type has been selected
  • Incorrect document type has been selected
  • Wrong case number has been listed somewhere on the filing
  • Wrong court location has been selected
  • 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.

So, it’s probably not surprising that eFiling rejection rates hover between 10-15%, depending on the court. That equates to 1 – 1.5 out of 10 court eFilings being rejected! What can be done?

To minimize eFiling rejections, we created two solutions – Expert Review and Concierge Service.

 

What is Expert Review?

Expert Review is a $35 service add-on for eFiling orders that customers can select to enhance court acceptance and to provide extra peace of mind. With this service, a Document Specialist team member will intercept your eFiling before it’s sent to the court and verify the following:

1) Accuracy Check: Verify the case number, parties, signatures, dates, court location, case type and document type.

 

2) Electronic Assembly: Verify the font style, searchable text, pagination, file size, layout and scan readability.

3) Jurisdictional Requirements: Confirm the filing contains locally required information such as bookmarks and mandated forms

What is Concierge Service?

Just like a hotel concierge that is hired to book a restaurant reservation or purchase show tickets on behalf of their customers – our concierge service operates very similarly. If you don’t have the time or you want to ensure your service is done correctly, you can hire us to perform our Concierge Service for you.

…I reached out to them and used the concierge service where they have someone in their office look at the documents and say ‘this is ok, this you might want to change’, various issues like that. I forget what the fee was but we were more than happy to pay it rather than having things continually rejected…and they took care of it…it was wonderful…” – Rapid Legal Law Firm Customer

With Concierge Service, you simply upload your documents here and we handle your submission from start to finish:

1) File Assembly: Verify filings basics, physical or electronic assembly

2) Jurisdictional Requirements: Ensure filing contains locally required information such as bookmarks, and mandated forms

3) Service Execution: Complete the order entry in our portal for whatever service you select – electronic or physical filing, service of process, document retrieval, secretary of state filing plus more.

 

Best of all, our Concierge Service includes built-in Expert Review as part of the service for extra peace of mind.

So the next time you are concerned about court filing rejections, or what court requirements you need to meet (there are state and local county rules to keep in mind), or you’re simply running out of time – remember Rapid Legal has Expert Review and Concierge Service to help you! Let us put our expertise to work for you.

Ready to get started? Click here place your Concierge Service order.

(Please note: Concierge Service is only available to registered account owners. Click here to create an account.)

Want a quick demo first?

Schedule a 15-minute call with a Rapid Legal Account Manager today – we’ll be happy to walk you through how to submit your first Concierge Service or Expert Review request and answer your questions!

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.

EFSP-Court-Workflow-for-blog

Interesting, huh? We’ll talk more about Rapid Legal’s eFiling technology in future posts, but for now, let’s see what’s going in with eFiling in the Los Angeles County courts.

 

Los Angeles Superior Court

As it stands today, LASC only allows for permissive eFiling for Small Claims. Parties who want to eFile a Small Claims action can do it online through the Court’s website, except when:

  • The claim is against a government agency
  • The claim involves an attorney-client fee dispute
  • The claimant is requesting a waiver of Court fees and costs
  • The claimant is a minor, a legally incompetent person, or a person for whom a conservator has been appointed

 

So maybe you already knew this and you’re asking when eFiling is going to be instituted for other case types at Los Angeles Superior Court? We’ll here’s what we know…

 

In 2013, LASC appointed a new CEO, Sherri Carter, known for her achievements in technological innovation. Last year, the court hired the Chief Information Officer, Snorri Ogata, from Orange County Superior Court to serve as their CIO.  Our guess? LASC is making these types of moves because they’re getting serious about expanding electronic filing. As the largest court system in the nation, LASC’s eFiling expansion will be quite significant and will likely take at least 3-4 years, if not longer, to fully implement.

 

In our next post in this 3 part series, we’ll be discussing eFiling with San Francisco county courts.


Stanislaus County Superior Court eFiling with Rapid Legal

Effective immediately, you can now eFile with Rapid Legal for all Non-Criminal cases at Stanislaus County Superior Court. This is permissive and the date for mandatory eFiling has not yet been announced.

These requirements are issued pursuant to Rule 2.250 of the California Rules of Court, Code of Civil Procedure § 1010.6 and Stanislaus County Superior Court’s General Order in Re Electronic Filing Procedures. Documents that are determined to be unacceptable for eFiling by the Court due to eFiling system restrictions will be rejected subject to being allowed to be filed nunc pro tunc to the original submittal date upon exparte application to the Court and upon good cause shown

For more information see the requirements document here.


CA Court eFiling Requirements – Part One

Here at Rapid Legal, we often get asked which courts are moving to eFiling and when. To start, eFiling means to electronically file your legal documents over the Internet, typically through a court-approved Electronic Filing Service Provider. And while it’s nothing new on the Federal level, for California state courts, it’s a different story, but we can cover that topic another time. To address the original question in this post, “What CA courts are moving to eFiling and when?” we’ve created a 3 part series that shares eFiling developments in the Sunshine State. Here we discuss Orange County Court eFiling and Los Angeles County eFiling.

Please note: This information is current as of January 2015. While we’ve made every attempt to verify its accuracy, you should always consult CCP, local court rules and/or CA Rules of Court. Also, this is only information, not legal advice.

Orange County Superior Court

January 1, 2013: OCSC mandates that all documents filed in limited, unlimited and complex civil actions must be filed electronically pursuant to CCP Sec. 1010.6 and OCSC Rule 352. Two caveats exist, however; self-represented litigants are exempt from the eFiling mandate, but are strongly encouraged to eFile, and parties facing undue hardship may apply for an exemption from eFiling in accordance with rule 2.253.

Additionally, California Rules of Court, rule 2.251 states that a party by electronically filing any document with the court thereby agrees to accept electronic service.

September 3, 2013: OCSC mandates that all documents (exceptions are listed below) for Probate and Mental Health must be electronically filed pursuant to section 1010.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure , rule 2.253 (b)(2) of the California Rules of Court , and Local Rule 601.01.

Along with these mandates, filers must use one of the court-approved Electronic Filing Service Providers (EFSPs). Shameless plug: Rapid Legal is an EFSP. Need to eFile some documents? Give our team a call at 800.366.5445!

Take note, the following original documents may not be filed electronically:

Civil Cases:

  • Bench Warrants
  • Subpoenaed documents
  • Labor Commissioner deposit of cash or check
  • Bonds
  • Undertakings

Probate/Mental Health Cases:

  • Affidavit re: Real Property of Small Value
  • Bonds
  • Financial Documents submitted by Private Professional Conservator
  • Letters (probate, guardianship, conservatorship)
  • Subpoenaed documents
  • Undertakings
  • Will/Codicils – originals for filing or safekeeping

In a proceeding that requires the filing of any original documents, an electronic filer may file an electronic copy of a document if the original document is then filed with the court within 10 calendar days. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.252(e))

We know this is a lot of information. Orange County Superior Court does a great job answering many of the pressing questions you might have. Check out their FAQs here.

Curious about how Orange County eFiling works? To become an approved Electronic Filing Service Provider with OCSC, we had to first determine a way to connect with the court’s Electronic Filing Manager (EFM). Some attorney services who are also EFSPs chose to use a third party application built by someone else, at Rapid Legal, we chose to build our own eFiling portal to connect to the court’s EFM. As a result, our court-integrated proprietary technology allows us to process legal documents quickly and efficiently. Check out the illustration below.

EFSP-Court-Workflow-for-blog

Interesting, huh? We’ll talk more about Rapid Legal’s eFiling technology in future posts, but for now, let’s see what’s going in with eFiling in the Los Angeles County courts.

Los Angeles Superior Court

As it stands today, LASC only allows for permissive eFiling for Small Claims. Parties who want to eFile a Small Claims action can do it online through the Court’s website, except when:

  • The claim is against a government agency
  • The claim involves an attorney-client fee dispute
  • The claimant is requesting a waiver of Court fees and costs
  • The claimant is a minor, a legally incompetent person, or a person for whom a conservator has been appointed

So maybe you already knew this and you’re asking when eFiling is going to be instituted for other case types at Los Angeles Superior Court? We’ll here’s what we know…

In 2013, LASC appointed a new CEO, Sherri Carter, known for her achievements in technological innovation. Last year, the court hired the Chief Information Officer, Snorri Ogata, from Orange County Superior Court to serve as their CIO.  Our guess? LASC is making these types of moves because they’re getting serious about expanding electronic filing. As the largest court system in the nation, LASC’s eFiling expansion will be quite significant and will likely take at least 3-4 years, if not longer, to fully implement.

In our next post in this 3 part series, we’ll be discussing eFiling with San Francisco county courts.


Common Pitfalls for Court Filing Rejections and How to Avoid Them

How to avoid a court filing rejection at the court:

Triple-check everything.

It’s always a good habit to double-check your work. Is that enough? Usually yes, but when it comes to court documents, you should always take the time to give them one last review before sending them to be filed. That last review can be crucial in catching a wrongly dated form or a missing signature; even an out-of-date Proof of Service. When you’ve finished filling in a form or titling a document, check it. When it looks good, check it again. Before sending it, check it one more time. Your client, your case or your reputation could depend on it.

Sign and date everything.

This might sound self-explanatory, but a missing signature is a surefire way to have your documents rejected by the court. Even if the window clerk misses it, you can bet the clerk of the department won’t. This is a very common pitfall for court rejections. Consider yourself warned (wink).

Be understanding of the clerks.

The clerks hold the ultimate power. They can decide whether or not to file your documents simply based on the kind of day they’re having. Okay, not all clerks are mean or spiteful, but like everyone, they don’t like to do extra work for a bunch of random individuals bugging them while they attempt to get their work done. Do you? Every time you have to ask a clerk in the department to schedule a hearing date, approve a date or to argue a rejection, that’s extra work for them and they hate it. So always treat them with respect and be courteous – hello, have a nice day, thank you – it all goes a long way.

Know what you’re filing.

Not every document should be treated the same. A Request for Dismissal may be okay to leave at the window, but a Stipulation and Order might need to go to a specific department. These documents might be similar, but they are not the same. Know where they go. You don’t want to waste your time or the clerk’s time by getting in the wrong line or having your documents sent to the wrong place.

Know the local rules.

Many documents may look the same with very similar sounding titles but that doesn’t mean they are treated the same. Said another way, not all documents are created equal. There may be a specific document that requires having a hearing set by the department clerk before filing or a fee that needs to be paid before being received and filed later. Some courts may require a specific cover page to be filed with all new cases. If you aren’t sure about what’s required, court websites have plenty of information regarding filings. Also, if you need a specific form, they usually have them available on their website or they’re just a simple Google search away.

Happy filing.