How important is case management really?
Doesn’t everyone make mistakes from time to time? Absolutely. We’ve all deleted an important email or used the incorrect font. But while these errors may seem minor they can result in severe consequences ranging from penalties to losing a case entirely. And if you lose a case, you’ve lost a client and taken a hit to your reputation.
Practice Management Advisor Beverly Michaelis writes the following in her article Zero Tolerance for e-Filing Error: Avoid Committing Malpractice, with a Few Clicks of Your Mouse:
In recent years, courts have punished lawyers mercilessly for CM/ECF-related mistakes. In 2007, an attorney who failed to appear in Colorado was required to pay the opposing party’s attorney fees when his firm’s spam filter inadvertently blocked the court’s e-notice of a settlement conference. Pace v. United Serv. Auto. Ass’n, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 49425 (D. Colo. July 9, 2007). When the firm’s I.T. administrator adjusted the spam filter to block messages with offensive content, he failed to white-list the court’s email domain. He never checked the spam filter to see whether email messages from the court were being blocked.
Michaelis cites other cases as well, including American Boat Co. v. Unknown Sunken Barge, 567 F.3d 348 (8th Cir. 2009) wherein the losing party’s law firm employee deleted an e-notice citing the issuance of final orders. This resulted in the failure to file a timely notice of appeal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit remained unmoved by the employee’s mistake.
What is the solution? Among those cited by Michaelis are:
1) Understand the CM/ECF system for your jurisdiction – courts publish pdf manuals and other resources online and often offer classes as well.
2) A mindful approach to E-Filing is essential – pay careful attention to your documents, especially the attachments. You cannot afford to upload the wrong document.
3) Know the local rules.
SmartRules can help you manage these aspects of case management and more – we combine and condense everything you need to know about E-Filing and Case Management – and we always have the latest CM/ECF manuals.
Local rules, especially with regard to e-filing, can be complicated – SmartRules makes it easy to navigate e-filing as well as have access to the latest local rules for those jurisdictions we cover.
For more information, please visit SmartRules.com.
A list of Beverly Michaelis’ articles appears here.