Keep Calm: The Court Clerk Uses CaseShare to Handle It

186_keepcalmclerk“Keep calm” is probably the least comforting phrase to any court clerk trying to ascend a case to the higher, or Appellate, courts. And rightfully so – there are custom requirements to be met, volumes to be assembled, files to be named and pages to be ordered, signed, sealed and delivered. Even after that laborious process, the file will likely still bounce back for unmet requirements, missing or improperly ordered papers, etc. Studies reveal that the court case rejection rates rise as high as 46 percent!

More stress than even a Snickers can fix, we knew we better come up with a solution.

Now There’s an App for That

A purpose-built application, CaseShare is a stand-alone solution that satisfies all state requirements, automates the fancy footwork of appellate court cases, and digitally delivers it in a user-friendly PDF format to the appropriate higher court. But if you really want it to integrate with the lower court’s document management system (DMS), it will.

Remember that 46 percent? Since adopting CaseShare, one county’s Circuit Court reported that less than five percent of its appeal cases have been rejected.

A Ruling in Favor of All

Cat’s out of the bag: lower court clerks benefit from CaseShare in numerous ways. With a previously paper-based process gone automated, rules-based processing keeps them on track while the man hours required to assemble the case and transcripts drops from days to hours. Lower court clerks now have the capacity to handle their appellate case workload, and then some.

But don’t hang your heads just yet, Appellate clerks – you actually win twice! Not only are you spending less time reviewing and sending back the record, but you’ll receive all your files in a consistent manner that also allows you to easily route them into the appropriate hands.

CaseShare didn’t forget about you either, Appellate Justices. A text searchable PDF with bookmarks makes it easier in court proceedings to quickly get everyone on the same page.

Let’s Build a Case for It

There’s more to CaseShare than can fit into one blog – without losing the average reader’s attention, at least. So we built an entire webpage that spells out all the functionalities – including a populated table of contents, text-searchable documents, one-click rotating, re-ordering, deleting and/or adding pages, and more – in chunked, digestible sections. You’ll also be able to listen to a CaseShare-specific webinar which includes a demo by ImagesSoft President Scott Bade and a customer story.

Take Me to the CaseShare Webpage

We Want to Hear From You!

On average, how does your court handle higher court case ascension? Which re-occurring issues do clerks gripe about most?

Make your case in the “comments” section below or on our Courts LinkedIn Showcase page. We read and respond – promise!

 

eFiling Bind-Overs and Appeals: Harvesting Some Low-Hanging Fruit

This is Part 8 of 10 in the eFiling Blog Series, check out Part 7 here.

In the standard model of eFiling, a litigant (whether private or public) initiates a case by eFiling with the court. Another, sometimes overlooked, opportunity to harvest some low-hanging fruit involves court-to-court eFiling. Using eFiling to transfer matters from a trial court to an appellate court, as in appeals, or from an initiating court to a trial court, as in a bind-over, offers efficiencies, savings, and process improvement.

104_casebindConsider first appeals from a trial court to an appellate court. Preparation of the Record on Appeal (RoA) is a strictly rule-driven process requiring the transfer of a broad but defined subset of the trial court’s data, metadata, and documents related to the case. Manually selecting what to send, packaging it with the prescribed order, format, and organization, creating the necessary indexes to documents, and transporting it to the appellate court consumes considerable time from one or more highly skilled knowledge workers.

On the receiving end, the appellate court must review the package for completeness and accuracy, re-enter the data and metadata on its own systems, and create its own case files. If the appellate court has its own Electronic Content Management System (ECMS) it may need to scan in the documents and enter the necessary metadata, duplicating entry again.

Appellate court implementation of eFiling for litigants continues to advance at an accelerating rate. However, many of the same appellate courts courts handle data and document intercourse with their originating courts in a fairly primitive manner, which is to say, with paper or static image documents and forms utilizing little data centricity.

By extending eFiling to the courts from which it receives appeals, the appellate court can greatly streamline its case/file setup process, as well as its interactions with the trial courts during and at the conclusion of the appellate phase. It could assure getting well organized, complete, and compliant Records on Appeal from all its constituent courts, while greatly reducing the time spent reviewing RoA’s by some of the court’s most highly skilled staff.

On the flip side, the benefits to the trial courts would be equally significant. A court with its own ECMS could configure its workflow according to the specifications of the appellate court to automatically generate the RoA. Acknowledgements, requests for further information, and case disposition (judgments, remands, etc.) would loop back to its ECMS and workflow from the appellate court.

Many of the same considerations apply in the case of moving a case from a lower appeal court to a higher level, or back again, or both. In many ways, bind-overs would be a lot simpler to configure than appellate RoA’s. Of course, what they lack in complexity they make up for in volume. Streamlining the bind-over process offers great efficiencies to both initiating and receiving courts.

In both the case of Appeals and the case of bind-overs, the filer/receiver model is usually many-to-one. That is, a trial court generally sends appeals to one appellate court (with some exceptions for appeals direct to a higher appellate court), while an appellate court generally receives appeals from many trial courts. Bind-overs likewise typically follow a similar many-to-one model.

In many, if not most places, the “sending” or “originating” court may not be responsible to the same political and/or funding authority as the “receiving” court. This reality causes the Three Rules of Funding eFiling to rear their often unbecoming heads: 1) It isn’t free; 2) Someone has to pay for it; and 3) The chosen strategy has implications. In short, a solution that should be win-win may not be considered because no one wants to pay for the whole thing.

Five years ago that might have been a persuasive argument. However, today the answer should be different, because the world is a different place. eFiling has penetrated all levels of courts. Probably the most direct strategy in this instance is to have the “receiving ” courts extend their eFiling systems to their “originating ” courts. The marginal cost to the “receiving” court would be more than offset by the resulting savings.

It sure looks like low-hanging fruit.

Coming up next: Blog 9 of 10: eFiling Blog Series – Law Firm Considerations