Transitioning to Oregon eCourt requires many adjustments – as evidenced by this week’s posts. Among the most significant: how law offices will process court notices for various events, including hearing dates, trial dates, or entry of judgments.
eCourt Notices are Delivered Only to the Filing Attorney
Unlike PACER, where filers can specify multiple e-mail addresses to receive electronic court notices, the Oregon system restricts delivery to the filing attorney. Notices are sent to the filing attorney’s official e-mail address on file with the Oregon State Bar. Alternate e-mail addresses, including generic docketing accounts like firstname.lastname@example.org are not permitted. Because notices are delivered to the filing attorney only, staff members or other attorneys in the office are not included in the Oregon eCourt notice system.
eService Accommodates as Many Parties as Needed
Unlike the notice system, there is no limit to the number of parties or lawyers that can be included in eService. Consent to eService is on a case by case basis. When you e-file into a case you are consenting to eService on that case. Parties and attorneys are responsible for adding themselves as a service contact in the eService system and updating their information as necessary. The system does not pull contact information from the Oregon State Bar database as it does for delivery of eNotices.
Registering Multiple Users Permitted
Law firms may register as many individual Oregon eCourt users as they desire. If a firm has 10 litigators and 5 staff who file in Oregon eCourt, all 15 may be added to the system. A firm account must be created first. Individual users may self-register only if permitted by the Firm Administrator. See the user guides available here.
How to Share eCourt Notices with Staff or Other Attorneys
If you want to share eCourt notices with staff or other attorneys in the firm, you will need to create auto-forward rules. This is easily done if you are using a desktop e-mail program like Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Apple Mail, or Thunderbird.
If you are using Web-based mail, it may or may not be possible. Auto-forwarding of eCourt notices requires the ability to selectively filter messages by sender. In this case, the goal is to forward messages sent from the court @ojd.state.or.us and from the Tyler Technologies File and Serve system @tylerhost.net.
Gmail permits forwarding of messages using filters (as do all the e-mail programs listed above). Yahoo! mail users can elect to forward all Yahoo! mail to another address, but they cannot selectively filter messages from specific senders. Filtering in Yahoo! is limited to moving messages from one folder to another.
Click on any of the following links to set up filtered auto-forwarding:
- Outlook 2007
- Outlook 2010
- Outlook 2013
- Windows Live Mail
- Apple Mail
- Gmail (also see this post)
As an example, here are step-by-step instructions for creating a rule in Outlook 2010 to mark all messages from @ojd.state.or.us as important and auto forward copies to specific people (staff or other lawyers). Repeat the steps described in this document to create a second rule for messages received from @tylerhost.net. eCourt notices are sent from both domains.
How to Create a Safety Net if you are a Solo Practitioner
If you are solo practitioner with no support staff, you may want to auto-forward eCourt notices to a secondary e-mail address as a backup. (Gmail can filter e-mail and send alerts to your phone.) Remember, you can also login to Oregon eCourt and look at court dates and case information online. eFiling data can be exported to Microsoft Excel.
Don’t Miss a Court Notice – Achieve Inbox Zero
If you achieve “Inbox Zero” you are far less likely to miss a court notice. Use Dee Crocker’s DAFT approach to keep your Inbox empty [Defer, Act, File, or Toss]:
If you don’t have time to reply or act on an e-mail, create a task from the message and schedule it for a later time.
If you can respond to an e-mail in less than five minutes, do so.
File messages that don’t require a response when they arrive. Move messages to appropriate folders in your Inbox or better yet save them directly to the client’s folder on your computer or network. You can download electronic filing assistants to make this process easier.
Toss (trash) unneeded messages immediately.
Keep Other Best Practices in Mind
For complete guidelines on how to handle client e-mail see these articles:
- Email Missteps: Documenting Email as Part of a Client’s File, Part I
- Filing Protocols to Capture It All: Documenting Email as Part of the Client’s File, Part II
Be particularly careful about junk mail or spam filters that may catch eCourt notices and learn about common eCourt mistakes. See Zero Tolerance for e-Filing Error: Avoid Committing Malpractice, with a Few Clicks of Your Mouse. Consider ordering the free PLF CLE, “Survival Tips for Organizing Your E-Mail and Practicing in eCourt,” available on the PLF Web site.
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