Click HERE to read part one.
Our theme for the 45th Annual Conference was “eService – What’s Now? What’s Next?” A catchy theme name indeed… Catchy, perhaps, yet hidden behind that clever moniker lurks something sinister, at least one could certainly make that argument. One could also make the argument that there’s something provocative there, too. After all, this is California. We do ground breaking here as a matter of course. Disruption is our middle name. So, which is it, sinister or provocative?
It was at this Conference that we tried to answer those questions. As you know, we’ve focused heavily this year on eService. How it is affecting us now. How it could affect us in the future. Where do we fit in the process (sorry, it’s just a natural pun)? What can we do to remain relevant as technology hurls (flings, throws and chucks are other verbs that come to mind) us towards the precipice of electronic service of process? Many of us have spent countless hours on the phone, in meetings, in front of our computers and more, and what we’ve found is that today, there are really more questions then answers. That hasn’t stopped us however, from at least trying to better understand what those questions might be or, as they sometimes ask in the development world: What are the known unknowns? What are the unknown unknowns?
So, at our Conference in Tahoe, we set out, as an Association, to continue the discussion, answer some of those questions and devise a plan of attack. Saturday, October 5th, was the kick off. As chairman of the eService committee I was the host and moderator, so I started things off. Here is some of what I said:
…We are at a crossroads and it’s up to all of us to figure out which way to turn. That’s why we are here. That’s why the Conference Committee took the courageous step to devote so much time to this topic over the weekend. So WE can have the discussion. So WE can begin to formulate a plan. Today we’re going to hear from Jeff Karotkin, who has been telling us for many, many, years, that this day was coming. We’ll also hear from Ray Maranda, President of the Quebec Bailiff’s Association. Jeff’s going to give a bit of background about eFiling and eService, including the players, the courts and more. Perhaps he’ll even scare you a bit. Ray’s going to enlighten us about both his and his Association’s experiences. What’s happening today in Quebec and how they got there. He’ll give us a bit of advice too. Lastly, he’ll provide a glimpse into the Quebec’s Bailiff’s Assoc. application. Then, after lunch, I’ll talk briefly about existing code sections and rules. Some are eService related, and some aren’t, but perhaps could be. Then, the real fun starts! The part I’m most excited about: A bit of back and forth with our panel, and you, during the town hall portion of this event. I’m guessing we may leave the room today with perhaps more questions than answers but that’s okay, because we’re here to “begin to formulate a plan” [from the December 2012 motion]. Tomorrow, we meet again, after things have sunk in a bit. Hopefully after you’ve had a chance to yak with others over cocktails or craps. It will be a casual meeting and everyone is welcome. My ultimate goal this weekend is to be able to come away from this Conference with some direction. That direction, I hope, will either be, or become, marching orders for Steve [Janney] and the Legislative Committee.
Well, that sums up what we were about that weekend. Jeff did scare us a bit (perhaps a lot). Ray gave us some information about what his Association did; it was groundbreaking and very courageous I think. I put together what I hoped was a provocative fifteen or so minutes of areas we could perhaps “attack.” The panel (which consisted of Andy Estin, Steve Janney, Jeff Karotkin, Michael Kern, Tony Klein Ray Maranda and David Nill) and the audience had some great back and forth. And, the next morning, we brought it home. The new board and officers, along with the members in attendance, all joined together for what I called a whiteboard session. We brainstormed, we argued, we asked tough questions, and it all began to gel. We decided to tackle three things first:
- Our Best Practices and Core Values. What are they now? What has to be revised? Without some guiding principles, we decided, we couldn’t really move forward.
- What technology options are there in terms of some sort of eService portal (like the Quebec Bailiff’s Association has)? Do we want or need one? If so, should we build our own? Should we leverage an existing platform?
- We have to lead this effort or someone else will. How do we become the recognized central authority (think mandatory certification/licensing of all CA servers, for example) in CA?
From these three initiatives, if you will, three sub-committees were formed, all under the umbrella of the eService committee. Jeff Karotkin agreed to chair the Best Practices/Core Values sub-committee. The additional members of that committee are Jenny Blevins, Tom Bowman, Tony Klein, David Nill and Stephanie Sayler. Ken Hastings agreed to chair the eService Portal sub-committee. Joining him are Davis Best, Jenny Blevins, Wendy Bowman, Hope Peck and myself. Steve Janney, as Legislative Chair, will head up the Certification/Licensing sub-committee. The other members of that sub-committee are Tom Alkema, Chad Barger, Wendy Bowman, Cliff Jacobs, Larry Kirlin, Tony Klein, Hope Peck and Maya Solis.
We also agreed that these sub-committees would have to get active very quickly, and report back to the Board on their progress, very soon. We wanted to keep things moving forward, and more importantly, we realized that time was our enemy. So, we set up a two-hour conference call, to be held Friday, November 8th. I’m writing this article the weekend after that meeting and I’m happy to report that everyone continues to do their part, as evidenced by the reports and discussion that took place. We still have a lot of work to do but as Wendy and I agreed when we spoke just after the meeting, it’s wonderful that we are having this dialogue!
What’s next, you ask? Well, at the December Board meeting in San Jose we’re going to make some decisions as the sub-committees have been tasked with coming to that meeting with recommendations on which the Board can vote. And, that’s where you come in, my fellow member. Do you have something to say about all of this? Do you want to participate? Do you want to hear what’s going on? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then you need to be at that meeting. We hope to see you there because we’re at a crossroads and together we can figure out which way we should turn!
–by Mark Schwartz, Chairman, eService Committee