Do you practice in the US District Court for the District of Oregon? Are you ready for NextGen – the new version of Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF)? If not, act now because time is running out. Here are the pertinent timelines and to-dos.
Effective date for NextGen
Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
When CM/ECF will be Offline
From 3:00 p.m. on Friday, January 17, 2020 through 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. During this time, notices of electronic filing will not be issued.
Court-imposed deadlines falling on Friday, January 17, 2020 are extended to 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. Standing Order 2019-13.
Time-Sensitive Filings Must be Submitted by Email
The Clerk’s Office will accept via email time-sensitive filings, such as filings nearing statute of limitations deadlines, requests for emergency injunctive relief, and notices of appeal.
Counsel or self-represented parties who are concerned about whether a filing must be submitted to the Clerk to ensure its timeliness should also submit the filing by email during the period when CM/ECF is unavailable.
Documents must be submitted to email@example.com and will be deemed filed as of the date received. Any documents submitted via email during this time will be entered on the docket by the Clerk’s Office as soon as practical after CM/ECF is operational. Standing Order 2019-13.
Upgrade Your PACER Account Now
Attorneys will NOT be able to log in and file with their current CM/ECF user names and passwords after January 21, 2020. To avoid any interruption in filing:
Law firms routinely collect and issue W9 and 1099 forms. But if you receive an email requesting a tax form and weren’t expecting it, think twice. Ask yourself:
How did the email arrive? Via a website contact form, via your blog, or addressed to a specific person in your firm who would deal with such matters?
Do you recognize the sender?
Does the sender’s domain exist?
Does contact information given in the email match what you find on the web?
Do your records reflect that you did business with the sender this year?
Does any part of the email message seem “off?”
Remember scams can seem innocuous, even apologetic:
We are updating our new financial software and see that we don’t have a current W-9 or your tax id number in our system. If we could get this at your earliest convenience that would be wonderful. We realize and understand that you are tax exempt, but we would love to have the information fully entered into your new system. Thank you for your help and understanding. If you would like you can fax it to XXX-XXX-XXXX. Have a great day!
When a request seems fishy (we understand you are tax exempt?) or oddly worded (we would love to have the information fully entered into your new system?!) take the time to independently verify legitimacy. Check your records, run a web search on the purported sender, and pick up the phone. Don’t use the contact information given in the suspicious email. Avoid replying, submitting a fax, or clicking on any links the message may include. Most importantly, educate staff on all levels and keep your antennae up for new variations of scams.
Do you have mystery money in your lawyer trust account? Uncashed checks? Funds you can’t return to clients? Join me on Wednesday, October 16 for Abandoned Funds: Trust Account Dilemmas and learn how to address these issues. This CLE is designed for lawyers, legal staff, bookkeepers, or office administrators – anyone interested in proper handling of abandoned funds and lawyer trust accounts.
Identifying abandoned funds
Determining ownership and residence
Exercising due diligence: statutory and ethical duties
Assessing the legal, practical, and and ethical implications of using stop payments, closing your IOLTA account, using stale dates, purchasing cashier’s checks to replace funds in IOLTA, and writing off leftover balances
Avoiding abandoned funds
Reporting and remitting abandoned funds outside the statutory deadline
Group Discounts: Available to firms who wish to register 5 or more attendees. Contact me for more information.
Participate in Polling & Ask Questions: Questions are welcome during the live event. Attendees are also encouraged to participate in live, anonymous polling.
How to Register
Register here, choose the image above, or visit the Upcoming CLE page. Secure payment processing powered by Eventbrite. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Program materials included in the $25 registration price.
Video and audio recordings will be available to download along with the program materials shortly after the live program event. Price: $25. Contact me or visit my online CLE store to place an order.
Browse the CLEs and add 2 or more to your cart. When you’re done making CLE selections, choose the shopping cart icon at the top right of your screen and select Checkout. In the discount code field, enter SUMMERand select Apply to receive 20% off your order.
Written program materials, including presentation slides and resources
Answers to polling questions asked during the live CLE
MCLE Form 6 for self-reporting of MCLE credits
Instant digital delivery with options to save to the cloud or your mobile device
Links to digital files are delivered instantly at checkout with your purchase confirmation email. Download, stream, save to your Dropbox account, or send files to your mobile device or desktop computer.
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This is a hard one, and I get it. But nothing will change unless you make the time.
I don’t have a magic solution for adding a 25th hour to the day. I do know that if something is important enough, we make room for it. So if you’re motivated, start by looking for time on your schedule. Find two one-hour blocks, whether they are close in time or a month apart. Schedule appointments with yourself. Mark the subjects “Workflow:brainstorm” and “Workflow:prioritize.” Commit to making the first time block outside the office. Leave your smartphone and other devices behind. Grab a legal pad, a pen or pencil, and go. Visit your favorite coffee shop or sit in the park.
During the first time block, make a list of all the functions in your office that you’d like to improve. Dream small: “I wish saving email to the client’s file was easier,” or dream big: “We need a better conflict system.” Don’t rule anything out. Just let the ideas come and go until the hour is up.
Your goal during the second time block is to prioritize. This can happen in your office IF you commit to working distraction-free. This means no phones, no checking email, no interruptions by others. You are in an appointment, albeit with yourself. If the temptations are too great, leave. As before, don’t bring devices.
Pull out the list of ideas from your brainstorming session and start marking what is most important: first, second, third, and so on. If you’re in your office, type up the list. If you’re out and about, take a moment when you get back to do so.
Schedule another one hour appointment on your calendar. This third time block will be devoted to investigating options for the number one priority on your list. Google is your friend. Look for online reviews from neutral, authoritative sources. The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center is a good starting point. Check out blog posts that come up in search results. Ask colleagues by posting to a listserv. If you have an IT person, get their input. Ask staff. Depending on how complicated your first priority is, you make have to block out more time for this step. However, there are definitely some small-scale functions that you can reasonably investigate in an hour’s time.
Keep going: implement and master
Sticking with your number one priority, make a decision on which option you want to pursue. Schedule out more appointments on your calendar to implement the option. Then wait. Live with your new technology or process a while. Be prepared to make adjustments. When you are comfortable and feel you have mastered the new workflow, move on to priority number two and repeat the steps above. My point: you can find the time and you can make the time. It doesn’t have to happen all at once.
We sometimes procrastinate about improvements we know we should make because we feel overwhelmed or have trouble accepting change. Hopefully the approach outlined above will help you overcome these concerns. If after the brainstorming session you are worried that your priority list has nothing but large-scale items, consider reaching out for expertise. Ask colleagues for referrals to IT or other consultants. Consider using the practice management team at the OSB Professional Liability Fund. You don’t need to do it all, and you don’t need to do it alone. There is help. It may be that you would benefit by blocking out time for a second brainstorming session. Use this appointment to identify three things that are important to you that you can realistically accomplish in the next twelve months. Save your original list, but table it for now.
You can do this. Remember, if you are overwhelmed pick the top three things you know can be accomplished in the next twelve months. Save your other ideas, but table them for now.
Stay motivated! Improving workflows will make your life easier by eliminating unnecessary, repetitive steps. This will reduce your stress and free up more time. Who doesn’t want that? And with three or more successes under your belt, I know you’ll want to keep going.