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.


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.


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


Solo and Small Practice Trends in the Legal Industry: the Vogue of Teamwork

Law practitioners who go it alone, or even those who are part of a small firm, face a number of unique challenges. Attorneys in larger firms have resources at their disposal that a small practice or a solo practitioner just don’t have. Solo practitioners and small practices, unsurprisingly, make up the vast majority of the legal profession. Data gathered by the American Bar Association shows that a full 49 percent of lawyers were solo practitioners in 2016 alone. Another 26 percent were members of law firms with 20 attorneys or less. That’s about 3 out of every 4 legal professionals in the United States that don’t have access to the resources of a massive law firm.

Yet despite that, these enterprising legal professionals have found innovative ways to compete against those monster law firms that grab all the headlines. There are some well-established trends that have emerged as a result. While these trends might have initially been born out of necessity, many, such as teamwork and collaboration, have become so well-established that they have become no longer the exception but the rule.

 

Providing Peace of Mind to Clients

Small practices and especially solo practitioners have all had to field questions from prospective clients regarding their ability to handle complex cases. Individuals often worry that a practice won’t have enough lawyers to handle all the issues of a case or that their solo practitioner becomes debilitated and their case will fall apart. No client is going to want to put their trust in a legal firm that appears to be too small to be effective.

It’s therefore crucial to the survival of small practices and solo firms to forge closely-knit professional networks that branch out far from the confines of their offices. Lawyers in big firms can go down the hall or up a few floors to find what they need easily, but with so many legal practitioners in small-scale or solo firms, it’s become a firmly-established trend to seek out colleagues from different practices when specific expertise is needed.

 

All in the Same Boat But With Different Paddles

The adversarial and, frankly, highly competitive nature of practicing law can certainly seem at odds to a trend like teamwork and collaboration across law firm boundaries. It’s time, though, to put such a common misconception to bed. Professional courtesy has always encouraged such relationships in the legal field. Besides, being involved in a winning case reflects positively on every lawyer or law firm involved a rising tide lifts all boats after all.

The only true issue that could prevent this type of teamwork is a logistical one. Thankfully, fee-splitting arrangements are easy enough to negotiate when several different firms work on one case. Additionally, establishing good working relationships within a network of small-scale practices means that referrals are shared between all members of a network, ensuring that everyone gets what they need when a client needs access to specialty law practitioners.

 

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…

3 out of 4 legal professionals in the United States can’t be wrong. In fact, small-scale and solo practitioners have become so successful in adapting to this trend that many attorneys that leave their mega-firms and strike out on their own adopt these methods immediately.

Teamwork and collaboration build strong small-scale professional networks. It provides the confidence to the clients of these small firms and cachet to small firms looking to build a positive reputation for themselves. Is it any wonder how solo and small practice firms have adopted teamwork?


Solo and Small Practice Trends in the Legal Industry: Serving to Protect

In today’s digital age, it’s never been more important to keep data security in mind. Instances of identity theft, wire fraud, corporate espionage, and even geopolitical destabilization efforts have all been on the rise lately, thanks to computer hackers breaching supposedly secure databases and absconding with damaging information.

Nowhere is data security more important than in the legal field. Protecting client and office data from catastrophic accidental loss or purposeful breach has easily become a primary focus for the solo and small law practice community, especially as small firms increasingly transition to paperless offices. With such crucial data now being warehoused in locations, such as cloud storage facilities, that are naturally more susceptible to breach and loss, small-scale firms are taking action to keep client and office data out of the wrong hands.

 

Protection from Theft and Loss

There are few nightmare scenarios worse than the accidental loss of a law firm’s digital resources. This can take any number of forms, including the kinds of human error that can lead to inadvertent data deletion to so-called acts of God such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or anything else that can wipe a server farm off the face of the Earth. The key to surviving such a calamity is to dedicate time and energy into backing up these crucial databases regularly. Online backup systems are one of most prevalent options, thanks to advancements in modern connectivity technologies.

Meanwhile, purposeful data breach and theft is another major issue that smaller firms have found ways to combat. While no online system is completely secure — there are always vulnerabilities that enterprising hackers can exploit — law offices have been minimizing their exposure by instituting much more stringent security protocols. Simple firewall programs and anti-virus software can help to keep systems secure, and supplementing these basic systems with malware sweepers and better password discipline add further levels of security that can easily spell the difference when it comes to keeping your data under lock and key.

 

Providing Security Without Sacrificing Convenience

Modern data systems, such as paperless systems that eliminate having to deal with hard copies, are designed to provide high levels of convenience. Sometimes this convenience can jeopardize the security of this data, especially once it leaves your law firm and goes on somewhere else. Legal support providers such as document delivery services can often be the weakest link in the chain if their security measures don’t meet your own firm’s high standards.

Not all support providers are created equal, of course. Some, like Rapid Legal, take data security as seriously as they value providing convenient, accessible service to their partner firms. Rapid Legal’s around-the-clock availability doesn’t come with the price of reduced security; as a certified Electronic Filing Service Provider with the state of California, Rapid Legal meets stringent standards that ensure the security of your electronically-submitted court documents and service of process orders are only accessed by those with the proper authorization.

By all accounts, it’s a jungle out there, and the world of data security is only going to get more wild as we progress. Partner with a skilled and experienced electronic data management service provider like Rapid Legal if you want the best on your side.


How Rapid Legal Has Stayed At The Forefront of eFiling and eService Developments

The deep connection that Rapid Legal has to the adoption of technology to drive improvement in the legal support services standards and practices makes it only natural that Rapid Legal would have a vested interest in not just understanding eFiling and eService but also leveraging its technology expertise to take advantage of such trends as they emerge. With eFiling and eService going from being a dream in the early 2000s to the rapidly expanding standard that it is today, it’s quite fitting that Rapid Legal has been there every step of the way.

In the Beginning

eFiling certainly feels like it sprung up overnight in California, especially as some of the biggest legal jurisdictions in the state are wasting no time in adopting or expanding their programs. Los Angeles County, for example, is very aggressively pursuing eFiling and eService options to streamline and modernize their court document filing systems as well as expanding the case types to incorporate into the eFiling umbrella.

The truth is, eFiling has been around, in some form or another, for the better part of two decades. The push began in the early 2000s in California, as the state, often at the forefront of leveraging technology to improve the courts efficiency, began using eFiling in certain complex cases at this time. Then, in 2006, Contra Costa County began a pilot project for one judge to test the waters. After the door was open with this project, it was only natural for other counties to follow suit. In 2009, Orange County took some serious steps by offering permissive eFiling for civil cases.

An Eye to the Future

Meanwhile, the Rapid Legal’s leadership constantly met to discuss how these technology advances would affect Rapid Legal and the legal industry. In the summer of 2012, Rapid Legal’s product and engineering teams started to design and build an eFiling Portal for its customers to eFile documents where permitted.  In January of 2013, Orange County became Rapid Legal’s first eFiling Court.

The Stars Align

In 2016, seeing the success of Orange County’s eFiling program, other courts began looking into introducing eFiling.  By the end of 2016, 12 additional California courts went live with eFiling in some capacity.

At this point in time, there would be no turning back: eFiling — and eService — had become established as standard operating procedures and Rapid Legal’s product and engineering teams were busy gearing up to build more integrations with other Courts that were thinking of moving to eFiling and eService.

The Future Is Now

Late in 2016, the biggest change in California’s judicial system, with far reaching service, administration and technology implications was about to take place. Los Angeles Superior Court decided to create an eFiling pilot program of its own. Known as the e-Delivery project, the pilot program permitted documents to be sent electronically to a select number of court clerks through a custom portal provided by Journal Technologies, Inc, (JTI).  These electronic documents were then printed and filed behind the scenes. After approximately a year of e-Delivery proving its effectiveness in general jurisdiction cases in specific courtrooms, the courts moved to institute an expanded version of the project as a more permanent solution and in May of 2017 probate eFiling went live in Los Angeles Superior Court.

With the project proving to be successful, LASC decided to roll this out to other case types.  Beginning in 2017, Rapid Legal started working on an integration with LASC’s EFM vendor, JTI, to build an integration that would allow customers and legal professional to eFile in Los Angeles for civil cases. Final testing with JTI has been underway for the past few months, and the court has set a launch date for eFiling in civil cases to begin in November of 2018. This is, of course, a major milestone, but not one that Rapid Legal and its customers should be unprepared to handle, thanks to the foresight of Rapid Legal and its dedication to supporting the future of the legal services profession.


Solo and Small Practice Trends in the Legal Industry: Paperless Practices

Small-scale legal practices, typically characterized by either solo practices or law firms with 20 lawyers or fewer, often don’t have the same resources of larger law practices. Complexities of scale are clearly at play here, with large firms with larger budgets can potentially outperform smaller private practices Yet despite the fact that smaller firms are so outmatched when it comes to resources — or perhaps because of it — solo and small practices have become incredibly adaptive in order to run with the big dogs.

No one goes into the legal profession if they’re uncomfortable with challenging circumstances. Ingenuity can go a long way, and small-scale practitioners have learned to become agile and efficient in ways that put many larger firms to shame simply because they had no choice if they wanted to succeed. One of the most noteworthy trends to emerge out of small firms’ innovation by necessity is by pivoting away from traditional hard-copy record keeping and replacing it instead with a paperless option that saves on space, time, and money.

 

Modern Document Management

Paperless record keeping systems have grown up alongside professional business sectors. Thanks to the connectivity that’s driven the development of the internet, cloud computing, smart devices, and more, it’s becoming increasingly easy to store, organize, and retrieve documents digitally, all without having to rely on voluminous filing cabinets or endless photocopies. The costs associated with archived digital records is also just a fraction of what it would cost to safeguard physical copies, and the time spent managing these digital collections is also minuscule compared to sending someone to an off-site storage facility to locate a specific file that’s been archived for decades.

Paperless practices are further supported by the same technologies that enabled paperless document management in the first place. Mobile document capturing technologies have become commonplace when it comes to legal professionals working in the field; whether it’s a netbook, a tablet, or even a mobile phone, these devices can and do work in tandem with portable handheld scanners designed for document capture, making it easier than ever to work with legal documents while out of the office. Meanwhile, mobile connectivity ensures that these documents are stored in ways that ensure they are universally accessible.

 

Filing and Serving the Paperless Way

Even facets of the legal industry that are completely dependent on paper copies have seen a positive impact as a result of paperless technologies. Both court document filing and process of service have been streamlined by digital document management techniques. A prime example of this is how Rapid Legal offers paperless workflow systems that save law firms of all sizes time, effort, and legal fees.

Rapid Legal’s eFile-compliant system makes it possible for lawyers in California to directly upload digital versions of court documents that would otherwise have to be sent via courier to the court clerk. These files are then reviewed for errors before being transmitted electronically to a court that accepts electronic filing or printed and hand-delivered to courts who do not. Rapid Legal also enables process of service across the entirety of the United States through electronic means, relying on the same digital document transmission technologies.

Yet one thing remains clear: whether you use paperless technologies to manage your firm’s own documents or you use a support service to file court documents electronically on your behalf, you’re reaping the rewards of a paperless practice.With the benefits that going paperless provides to law firms, it’s only a matter of time before everyone has relegated hard copies to the dustbin of history.


Solo and Small Practice Trends in the Legal Industry: Out of the Office 24-7

When it comes to competing against massive law firms with dozens or even hundreds of lawyers, solo attorneys and small legal practices have learned to adapt. Small means agile and adaptable, able to provide better individual service to clients, and, above all, hardly ever being in the office.

This last trend — being out of the office seemingly 24-7 — is increasingly prevalent. Attorneys have always been known to burn the midnight oil, but thanks to modern developments and emergent working trends, it’s easier than ever to not set foot in the office for days at a time. Here’s how it works, and how the legal support industry has risen to support this trend.

A Universal Trend

American workers, including legal professionals, are simply sick and tired of being cooped up in the office. A 2016 Gallup survey found that 43 percent of respondents spent at least one or two days a week working out of office environments, up from just 39 percent in 2012. With the remote working and telecommuting trend picking up, it’s only natural that the legal profession is part of that trend.

Whether it’s taking depositions or interviewing clients, researching cases, filing court documents, or actually attending court dates, the career requirements for lawyers and legal staff are already itinerant. What’s changed for lawyers, however, is that now there’s even less need to check in at the office to do things like file paperwork, place phone calls, or attend meetings.

The Logistics of Keeping Out of the Office

Modern tech supports legal professionals who want to get out of their office. Whether you’re working out of the stillness of your own home office thanks to a desktop computer equipped with high-speed internet or if you’re constantly on the go and using mobile devices with good data plans to keep in contact with clients, partners, and staff, communication technologies have your needs covered.

This trend goes even further when it comes to supporting services associated with the legal profession. Cloud-based document storage and retrieval mean not having to be tied to a central server you can only access in one location. When you’ve got a little device in your pocket that can act like your personal law office, you don’t have to be physically present in a specific location to do your job.

The Perfect Example: Document Filing and Service Process

A shining example of how modern technology enables the contemporary lawyer to stay in the field for as long as they like is how handling legal documents has changed. The days of printing out documents at the office and then relying on courier services or process servers to hand deliver these documents, your legal practice can rely on a support service company like Rapid Legal to do the dirty work for you so that you don’t have to sweat about it.

An industry leader in eFiling California court documents and providing process of service across the United States, Rapid Legal makes it easy to both initiate and manage your legal document filing and serving from any location. Anywhere, anytime, and from any connected device, you can upload your documents and have the experts at Rapid Legal take care of the rest. Less time handling document needs means even more time out of the office — time that you can instead spend on providing your clients the kind of personal attention that they need.