When you get a new case, you’ll be focused on legal theories and general procedural rules, but don’t forget that the practice of law is local and knowing about the court’s local rules and required forms is critical to your case going smoothly.
As more courts are requiring or permitting electronic filing (see Cal Rules of Ct 8.212(c)(2)), briefs will be increasingly read online. The ABA Journal reports that even Supreme Court Justices Kagan and Scalia are using electronic readers to read briefs on the go. Because reading documents online differs in some significant ways from reading hard copies, you need to draft your briefs with these differences in mind.
With amendments to the Rules of Court and the Code of Civil Procedure (effective January 1, 2011), the California legislature and the Judicial Council have indicated an emphasis on electronic filing and service. The rules were reorganized to improve the presentation, and CCP §1013 was amended to specifically refer to electronic service. If you haven’t already, maybe now is the time to familiarize yourself with some of the highlights of these statutes and rules.
Computers don’t make mistakes, people do. Most of the time minor typographical errors are inconsequential, but they can be potentially case-ending. Take, for example, a typo in an electronically-filed notice of appeal that is not corrected until after the appeals deadline has passed. A stickler court can dismiss the appeal and the case is lost.