Please bust out your favorite team jerseys or bowling shirts for Friday night at Tahoe Bowl! This is a sporting event and you may want to participate by looking “sporty”. If you plan to be a team player, please spread the word to your fellow team mates to adopt the look! You have a chance to beat your opponents on the lanes, and also on the “Best Dressed” list!
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eService – What’s Now? What’s Next?
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- Educational Events pertaining to our industry and business practices
- Special Guest Speaker: Ray Louis Maranda President of the Quebec Chamber of Bailiffs
- General Business Meeting
- Election of the board of directors and officers
- The annual Jack Janney Memorial Gold Tournament on Friday, October 4th.
Friday Night Festivities at the Tahoe Bowl – Where you longer need to be a golfer to be a Sports Hero! Begin challenging your opponents, make alliances, and hit the bowling lanes! Enjoy the 11th Frame Diner, Lane 17 Sports Bar, and a great party atmosphere. They play rockin’ great music and everyone can have a good time (strikes not required, but they help). Friday Night – Oct 4th, 7:30pm – 9:30pm. Safety First! Shuttle transportation provided to and from the hotel to the bowling alley (2 miles)
I remember the last time we held our Conference on a cruise ship, Jeff Karotkin was there telling us all this day was coming. I honestly don’t remember the year or who else was on that panel with Jeff and I’ll even leave open the possibility that it wasn’t on the cruise and could have been at another location as my memory is definitely not what it used to be. Be that as it may, I know that Jeff has been ringing that fire bell for a while now. Spending the last 4 years at One Legal has also made me realize just how easily (kind of) technology can be utilized in order to transport paper (or more correctly stated, images of paper), and in some cases, eliminate it entirely.
I’ve been a member of CALSPro since 1989 and I’ve seen a lot of change. From handwritten dockets, when I was a court runner, to Thomas Bros. map books as a server, to the first “portable” cellphone (think car battery for those too young to remember), to fax filing, to eFiling and now, eService. Okay, I realize that eService has been around for quite some time but it’s only recently that it has started to gain some traction in the law firm world. I’ve taught, and teach today, courses that go into some detail about how process is being served today via social media (think modern publication), fax or email; in some instances, without the legal authority necessary (i.e. service of subpoenas by email is not per the CA statutes). And, just last Friday (June 28th), the Judicial Council of California amended Ca. Rule of Court 2.251 (c)(2) to require eService in cases where eFiling is mandated, “except when personal service is otherwise required by statute or rule…”
It’s because of what I perceive to be a sea change in our industry, or profession if you wish, that in December of last year, I made this motion during the board meeting:
CALSPro shall organize a one-half day to a full-day discussion on Sunday, March 17, 2013 to begin to formulate a plan as to how we are going to address electronic filing and electronic service of process.
The motion was seconded by fellow board member Pat Woodman and was passed unanimously by the board. Our President, Michael Kern, formed an Ad-Hoc committee (read on to learn who the members of the committee are) in order to “begin to formulate a plan.” Due to the holidays and work obligations (you all know the drill), we weren’t able to gather ourselves in time for March 17th but we did begin having bi-weekly conference calls with the idea that we would instead organize the “discussion” around the June board meeting. Those conference calls in some ways generated more questions than answers, but as we kept reminding ourselves, we’re trying to formulate a plan. We want to keep expanding the committee to all officers, board members and committee chairs and then eventually share what we know, and what we’ve learned, and what others have learned, with you, our fellow members at the Conference in October so that we can all put our heads together and formulate a plan, decide on a direction, something.
Well fellow member, phase 1, have the “one-half day” discussion, is complete. We (the newly formed eService committee, consisting of all officers, board members and committee chairs as well as Tom Bowman, Andy Estin, Jeff Karotkin and David Nill) met on June 14th in Sacramento. Here’s the agenda from that meeting:
A bit of background…
The intent of the ad-hoc committee (Wendy Bowman, Steve Janney, Jeff Karotkin, Michael Kern, David Nill, Mark Schwartz) has always been to open up the discussion to a larger group (this meeting) with the eventual goal of shaping our future as an Association (the Conference). We believe that remaining relevant in the digital age is the key to our members’ continued existence. We also believe that in order to begin the process (no pun intended), our membership must be as informed as possible, presented with recommendations from our leadership (you) and given a chance to vote (perhaps by choosing the next board and officers) on the direction the Association should take.
The purpose of this meeting is not to make decisions, but instead recommendations and it’s likely that we’ll need to continue these discussions as we move towards the Conference.
Lastly, while knowledge of eFiling is important to understand the big picture perhaps, we believe that the focus here should be about eService. eFiling rules are for the most part already in place and it’s really technology that drives that bus, if you will. eService, on the other hand, is already occurring, even though in many cases, it is not codified. How do we ensure that it’s our members that serve those, as well as other papers?
Let the discussion continue!
- 3:00 p.m. to 3:05 p.m. – Self-Introductions
- 3:05 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. – Opening Statements of Ad-Hoc Committee Members
(Wendy Bowman, Steve Janney, Jeff Karotkin, Michael Kern, David Nill, Mark Schwartz)
- 3:20 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Discussion as to whether eService should/can be codified as another method of service of primary documents
- 4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. – Discussion (including proposed changes) to 2006 ABA Best Practices (included with invite)
- 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Discussion (including proposed changes) to CALSPro’s Best Practices (included with invite)
- 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – Discussion (including proposed changes) to the proposed legislative plan (included with invite)
- 6:00 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. – Discussion (including background on Maranda and proposed changes) of tentative conference agenda
(Jeff Karotkin & Mike Kern)
- 6:20 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – Recap and assignment of action items
- 6:30 p.m. – Adjournment
It was a remarkable day, certainly. It’s a scary subject, certainly. However, we had honest and open discussions about where we were going, where we could be going and where we wanted to be going. Again, we came away with more questions than answers (Click here to read the minutes of the meeting). However, all of us in the room felt better that all of us were in the room. Sounds like a Yogi Berra-ism, doesn’t it? In all seriousness…eFiling and eService are not going away! It’s vital that we figure out, AS AN ASSOCIATION, how we can remain relevant in this daunting, and at the same time what I feel is exciting, technology age.
Okay, so now on to the next phase, or phases. This is where you come in fellow member:
- The committee is working on a survey in order to solicit your opinion(s). Please be on the look out for it and please take the time to answer it openly and honestly. Tell us what you think and fear. Most importantly, tell us what you want, or need, to know.|
- The conference committee (Stephanie Sayler, Chair) has been hard at work on the conference agenda, and is finalizing, along with the eService committee, an informative and eye-opening, conference agenda so we can all dive into this thing as a group in October.
- That agenda currently includes background on eFiling & eService infrastructure, rules, statutes, a presentation from a colleague from Canada, whose organization has experienced similar issues and come up with a solution that works for them, and a “town hall meeting” so we can all “hash things out.”
- We’ve also included some time Sunday morning so after it all sinks in a bit, we can go at it again.
Be on the lookout for the conference agenda, as well as other communications on this subject, and please, make plans to attend the Conference. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard and the more minds focused on this subject, the better! And, please add your comments to this post or email me at email@example.com if you have any thoughts you’d like to share.
What is cloud computing? Most often when hearing this phrase people come up with a variety of different ideas about its true meaning due to its complex nature. “The cloud” is used as a metaphor when referring to the Internet. An expansive interpretation of cloud computing is the belief that anything outside of a firewall is considered to be a part of “the cloud”. On the other hand vendors and analysts characterize cloud computing as virtual servers which are accessible on the Internet.
An easy way to understand the term cloud computing is to get to the root what an IT’s needs are. These include licenses for new software, training for personnel, boosting capacity, and additional capabilities all of which are needed without creating a new infrastructure. Anything that can be paid per usage or uses a subscription on the Internet is under the umbrella term we call cloud computing. There are a variety of forms being used today. These different types of cloud computing are as listed: Software as a Service (SaaS), platform as a service, managed service providers (MSP), utility computing, Internet integration, and service commerce platforms.
Cloud computing is beneficial to the Attorney Service industry because many helpful applications have been created by using “the cloud”. Software companies are building their applications to harness the cloud’s efficiency and Process Serving companies would be wise to take notes. Data Integration, .asp or (.Asp .NET) websites, connecting multiple branches; all of these things work better and work faster in a cloud. Investing in cloud technology makes sense. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of improved uptime, quicker access to data, safer server environment, built in redundancy, and application portability?
The State of California, Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate District has just begun electronic filing. On May 1, 2012 Divisions 1 (San Diego) and 2 (Riverside) began to accept electronically filed documents and Division 3 (Santa Ana) is not far behind. More details can be found at http://www.courts.ca.gov/17948.htm.
This represents a drastic change from the previous policy at the Court of Appeals where they would only accept documents with original signatures (in most cases), wanting multiple copies of documents and requiring that documents be specially bound. Although this may not be a major portion of most attorney services business, it will become a loss of some work for many attorney services. More importantly, it is a sign of things to come.
E-filing may have suffered a setback with the Judicial Council halting the statewide deployment of version 4 of CCMS which would have allowed for e-filing in all Superior Courts in California, but eventually it will be here. Court filings are a large portion of many of our members business. For anyone that is involved in the legal support industry, you need to start preparing (if you haven’t already) for how you are going to adjust your business model to compensate for e-filing. Robert J. Ringer once said “If you are prepared, then you are able to feel confident.” As members of CALSPro, we need to take the necessary steps so that we are prepared for any obstacles or changes that may come our way. We need to be flexible, adaptive and always looking towards the future so that we can have the confidence that our industry and our individual businesses will remain relevant for years to come.
A mere two decades ago, landlines and paper were the dominant forms of communication. Business tasks required human involvement at every stage. As keyboards replaced typewriters, the pace of the business world accelerated. Pagers and mobile phones became familiar sights, enabling contact between the office and field. Over the years, toaster-sized batteries shrank into iPhone and Androids. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, nearly half of American adults are Smartphone owners. Computers are in our pockets, homes, and vehicles, and the attorney service industry has access to new capabilities that did not exist a few years ago.
Communication is evolving at an unprecedented rate and data integration technology is at the core of this transformation. Data integration allows users to see a unified view of data from different locations and sources. When information was primarily conveyed on paper and the almighty FAX ruled the workplace, the system was only as accurate as the humans maintaining it. Revolutionary advances in cloud computing and web services are empowering businesses to work smarter, not harder. Collaboration and partnerships are the new norm and the desire to expand and network is more pronounced than ever before.
Attorney service companies would be wise to look into data integration. Technology is changing at a rapid rate, and those who fail to adapt will be left behind. How can a company using old human-powered systems stay relevant when their competitors can complete identical tasks with a few clicks? Data integration allows companies to share data with their clients in real-time to complete tasks as commonplace as checking status that can be accomplished immediately using the client’s own program. Sharing jobs with other attorney service companies instantly and directly is now a reality. How about when you forward a job to an affiliate? You would normally send an email with instructions, only to have your client re-enter the same data. With data integration, you can send the work order directly into your affiliate’s system. Data integration makes it possible for a single software package to streamline the operations of an entire attorney service company, and to smoothly manage a job from beginning to end.
Attorney service companies should find out what kind of programs their clients are running, as there may already be web services or other tools available to make data integration possible. As the industry begins to shift to new technologies such as E-Filing and GPS integration, and cloud computing; companies who are quick to embrace the inevitable tide of change will be in a stronger position. Data integration makes companies more marketable and effective. Who doesn’t want to save time, money, and significantly reduce the potential for errors?
e-filing. Just hearing the word is enough to make some court runners and attorney services get nervous; especially those attorney services earning a significant portion of their revenue from physical court filing. That being said, the demand for e-filing with the superior courts is on the rise.
When e-filing began in June of 2010, a single Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) provided an interface for attorneys and individuals to electronically file documents directly with the court in Orange. Attorney services had to build their own e-filing interface to e-file with the court, or refer their clients to the Court’s website for them to access the existing EFSP and obtain e-filing capability. As of January first of this year the types of cases that are required to be e-filed in Orange County has grown, and as such, so has the concerns amongst attorney services that cover Orange County that they would lose out on this portion of this business.
The concern can now be eased as there are additional EFSP’s now available for electronic filing in Orange who allows third parties (attorney services) to e-file on behalf of their clients.
Now, if an attorney service has a document that needs to be e-filed with Orange County, they can set up an account and e-file through an EFSP by manually entering the information into their system. For some attorney services, this is another option, rather than building their own e-filing system or turning their clients away.
We have heard that other companies have built or are currently in the development stages of efiling systems where the law firm clients of an attorney service might have the option of doing the data entry and submitting it through their attorney service’s site or a possibly a site with their attorney service’s name and logo will be on it.
The CALSPro Technology Committee will be keeping a careful watch on the progression of efiling, and will continue to keep our membership informed of any new developments.