The Importance of Following Up

Today’s post is inspired by Ben Schorr, technologist and senior content developer with Microsoft, who has “been in this business long enough to remember when Al Gore invented the Internet.”

Being the all-around smart guy that he is, Ben recently posted:

Follow-up is one of the most important skills you can have in business.

Ben couldn’t be more right, and let me tell you why.

Clients

When is the last time you checked in with your clients? Asked how they are faring? Provided them with a status update?

Nothing is more aggravating to clients (and more damaging to client relations) than failing to follow-up. Avoid this trap by establishing an office system that reminds you to reach out and make contact.  It can be as simple as a tickler system or reminder app. Consider the advantages of interactive web portals that offer clients 24/7 access and apps like Zipwhip that let you send scheduled texts and auto-replies to clients.  Are phones overwhelming you? Worried about missing client calls? Start using Call Ruby. (Discounts are available to Multnomah Bar Association members.)

Tasks and Deadlines

Always create follow-up reminders for all outstanding to-dos and deadlines – particularly those that require action from someone else.

  • Include everything to ensure you get what you need to complete tasks on time and avoid a potential malpractice claim.
  • Include everyone who owes you information, documents, or an undertaking. Clients, co-counsel, opposing counsel, associates, staff, medical providers, investigators, and process servers are the tip of the iceberg.

Staff

Staff also deserve follow-up. Brief weekly meetings can cover a lot of ground: staff workloads, pending projects, your schedule, and responding to staff questions. For tips on working with and delegating to staff, see Revisiting Smart Delegation.

Finances

It’s been almost 7 years since I penned Accounts Receivable Do Not Improve Like Fine Wine, but the advice has not changed. You simply must follow-up on your finances:

Marketing and Business Goals

Follow-up is key when it comes to goal setting. Start by quantifying what you want to achieve, then be accountable (that’s the follow-up part). Whether it’s a business plan or a marketing plan, you are only cheating yourself if you don’t take the time to measure your results.

I’ve written extensively about marketing this year and prior years, both incidentally and deliberately.  If you’re looking for social media tips, resources for market research, how to calculate your marketing costs per case – you’ll find those posts here.  Use the Search feature at the top of my blog or under Categories choose “Marketing.” Whatever you do: follow-up!

All Rights Reserved 2017 Beverly Michaelis

eCourt Malpractice Traps 2017 – Last Call!

Polish your Oregon eCourt knowledge and avoid potential malpractice traps with this 2017 CLE update.

Topics include:

  • Relation Back Malpractice Traps – Defining filing “acceptance,” notification of rejected filings, the process for seeking relation back, right to object, judicial discretion, system errors, multiple filing attempts, and what to do if your relation-back request is denied.pexels-photo-60626-medium
  • Ever-changing Rules and Software – Recent out-of-cycle amendments to the UTCRs, proposed UTCR changes for 2017, and upgrades to the Odyssey eFile & Serve software (Silverlight vs. HTML 5).
  • Common Reasons for Rejected Filings – A review of 12 of the most common filing errors and where to find OJD standards for electronic filings in circuit courts.
  • How to Avoid eCourt Malpractice Traps – Where and how to get help with OJCIN, eFiling, and questions about rules plus key resources from the Professional Liability Fund, Oregon Judicial Department, Odyssey, and others.

Date/Time/Location

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time.  This is a live, online webinar. Watch from your desktop computer or mobile device. Connect to audio via telephone or computer/device speakers.

Who Should Attend?

Lawyers, office managers, administrators, and staff.  If you want to avoid common malpractice traps, need a refresher on changes to the Uniform Trial Court Rules or eFiling software, or want to discover the most common mistakes made by Oregon eFilers, attend this CLE.

Does the Program Include Written Materials?

Yes.  Written materials will be distributed electronically to all registered attendees prior to the event.

Ask Questions/Participate in Live Polling

Questions are welcome during the live event.  Attendees are also encouraged to participate in live, anonymous polling.

Registration Fee

$25 – Visit the CLE Events page, click here, or choose the Register button below. Secure payment processing powered by Eventbrite. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Program materials included in the registration price.

MCLE Credits
2.0 Practical Skills/General MCLE Credits pending.

Eventbrite - eCourt Malpractice Traps 2017

Can’t Attend?

Video and audio recordings of eCourt Malpractice Traps 2017 will be available to download along with the program materials following the April 5 CLE. Price: $25. Contact me for more information.

All Rights Reserved [2017] Beverly Michaelis

eCourt Malpractice Traps 2017

Polish your Oregon eCourt knowledge and avoid potential malpractice traps with this 2017 CLE update.

Topics include:

  • Relation Back Malpractice Traps – Defining filing “acceptance,” notification of rejected filings, the process for seeking relation back, right to object, judicial discretion, system errors, multiple filing attempts, and what to do if your relation-back request is denied.
  • Ever-changing Rules and Software – Recent out-of-cycle amendments to the UTCRs, proposed UTCR changes for 2017, and upgrades to the Odyssey eFile & Serve software (Silverlight vs. HTML 5).
  • Common Reasons for Rejected Filings – A review of 12 of the most common filing errors and where to find OJD standards for electronic filings in circuit courts.
  • How to Avoid eCourt Malpractice Traps – Where and how to get help with OJCIN, eFiling, and questions about rules plus key resources from the Professional Liability Fund, Oregon Judicial Department, Odyssey, and others.

Date/Time/Location

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time.  This is a live, online webinar. Watch from your desktop computer or mobile device. Connect to audio via telephone or computer/device speakers.

Who Should Attend?

Lawyers, office managers, administrators, and staff.  If you want to avoid common malpractice traps, need a refresher on changes to the Uniform Trial Court Rules or eFiling software, or want to discover the most common mistakes made by Oregon eFilers, attend this CLE.

Does the Program Include Written Materials?

Yes.  Written materials will be distributed electronically to all registered attendees prior to the event.

Ask Questions/Participate in Live Polling

Questions are welcome during the live event.  Attendees are also encouraged to participate in live, anonymous polling.

Registration Fee

$25 – Visit the CLE Events page, click here, or choose the Register button below. Secure payment processing powered by Eventbrite. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Program materials included in the registration price.

MCLE Credits
2.0 Practical Skills/General MCLE Credits pending.

Eventbrite - eCourt Malpractice Traps 2017

Can’t Attend?

Video and audio recordings of eCourt Malpractice Traps 2017 will be available to download along with the program materials following the April 5 CLE. Price: $25. Contact me for more information.

All Rights Reserved [2017] Beverly Michaelis

Searching eCourt Calendars – Oregon eCourt Week

Today we explore how to search court calendars in the Oregon eCourt system.

There are two options for searching calendars. The first uses a publicly accessible link from the Oregon Judicial Department home page. The second approach requires logging in to the eCourt system. The search methods are identical regardless of the approach used.

The following search criteria are available when searching eCourt calendars:

  • Attorney
  • Case
  • Judicial Officer
  • Party or Defendant Name
  • Date Range

Search by Case is the default search method. To search by any other criteria, click the drop-down arrow.

When searching by Attorney, use the attorney’s last name and first name or bar number.

search by attorney

When searching by Judicial Officer, the search screen offers a pull-down menu of all judicial officers in the state in ascending order, beginning with Abar, Donald and ending with Zuver, Julie:

search by judicial officer

When searching by Date Range, you can filter your search by Case Category. Case categories include: Criminal, Family, Civil, and Probate/Mental Health. By default, all four are selected. De-select categories you do not wish to include in your search.

date range

Phonetic Searches Using Soundex

Phonetic searches are available when searching by Party or Defendant Name or by Attorney if using last name and first name criteria. Check the Soundex box in the upper right portion of the screen to retrieve calendar dates for search names that sound alike.

eCourt Calendar Searches Limited to 90 Days in the Future

When searching the calendar, date ranges cannot be more than 90 days in the future. If you attempt to search more than 90 days out, the following message will appear:

date range message

Searching OJIN Circuit Court Calendars

Search OJIN Circuit Court Calendars here. Search criteria are limited to Date, Party Name, and Attorney. Note these conditions:

The (OJIN Circuit) Court Calendar allows entering up to four identifiers to locate an event occurring on a specific court docket. A minimum of at least one identifier is required. Providing more information will result in more accurate search returns.

The Party Name and Attorney fields are case-insensitive and can be all or part of a name. For example, entering “John” in the Party Name field will give results of all the cases with “John,” “Johnson,” and “Van Johnson.”

Names are stored in the same manner as in the OJIN system “Last First Middle” with no commas and one space between names. For example, Michael Jay Smith is actually stored as “Smith Michael Jay.” Searching for “Michael Jay Smith” will not find any results; however, searching for “Smith Michael” or “Smith M” or “Smith Michael Jay” will include the desired results.

You can only search for the first plaintiff and defendant on a case. You can only search for the first three attorneys on a case, with the system first looking for attorneys on the scheduled event and then for active attorneys on the case. Search results will return the first 500 entries on the docket.

OJIN Online subscribers have access to more functionality.

Beverly Michaelis [2014] All Rights Reserved.

 

Rejected Filings and Relation Back – Oregon eCourt Week

The rules for electronic filing deadlines in Oregon eCourt are set forth in UTCR 21.080, effective May 1, 2014. (See Chief Justice Order 14-012 dated March 31, 2014 adopting out-of-cycle amendments.) Among the most important are the provisions concerning rejected filings and relation back.

Accepted Filings Relate Back to the Date and Time Received

“If the court accepts the document for filing, the date and time of filing entered in the register relate back to the date and time the electronic filing system received the document. When the court accepts the document, the electronic filing system will affix the date and time of submission on the document, thereby indicating the date and time of filing of the document. When the court accepts a document for filing, the electronic filing system sends an email to the filer, unless the filer has elected through system settings not to receive the email.”
UTCR 21.080(4). [See the rule for other provisions.]

What Happens When a Document is Rejected

“If the court rejects a document submitted electronically for filing, the electronic filing system will send an email to the filer that explains why the court rejected the document, unless the filer has elected through system settings not to receive the email. The email will include a hyperlink to the document.” UTCR 21.080(5).
Practice Tip: Leave the default system settings alone to ensure you will receive rejection notices.Rejection notices are sent from Tyler Technologies, @tylerhost.net not from @ojd.state.or.us.

 

Can I Resubmit a Rejected Filing?

The short answer is “Yes.” But resubmitted documents will only receive relation-back if certain conditions are met.

Getting Relation Back When a Filing is Rejected or:
What if I’m Up Against the Statute of Limitations?

A filer who resubmits a document may request, as part of the resubmission, that the date of filing of the resubmitted document relate back to the date of submission of the original document to meet filing requirements. In the case of a last minute filing to beat the statute of limitations, this will be critical. However, relation back is ONLY available if the following conditions are met:

First, the filer must resubmit the document within 3 days of the date of rejection. “If the third day following rejection is not a judicial day, then the filer may resubmit the filing … the next judicial day.” Resubmission means “submission of the document through the electronic filing system … or physical delivery of the document to the court.” UTCR 21.080(5)(a).

Second, a filer who resubmits a document for purposes of relation back must include a cover letter that contains the following:

a)     the date of the original submission
b)     the date of the rejection
c)     an explanation of the reason the filer is requesting that the date of filing relate back to the original submission
d)     the words “RESUBMISSION OF REJECTED FILING, RELATION-BACK DATE OF FILING REQUESTED” must be in the subject line of the cover letter.” UTCR 21.080(5)(a)(i).

Third, if the resubmission is filed electronically the words “RESUBMISSION OF REJECTED FILING, RELATION-BACK DATE OF FILING REQUESTED” must be included in the Filing Comments Field. UTCR 21.080(5)(a)(ii).
Practice Tip: Use the specific language set forth in the rule and enter it in ALL CAPS.

Objecting to Relation Back

“A responding party may object to a request (for relation back) within the time limits as provided by law for the type of document being filed. For the purpose of calculating the time for objection provided by law under this subsection, if applicable, the date of filing is the date that the document was resubmitted to the court under subsection (a) of this section.” UTCR 21.080(5)(b).

Other Things to Know about UTCR 21.080

eFiling is Available 24/7

“A filer may use the electronic filing system at any time, except when the electronic filing system is temporarily unavailable.” UTCR 21.080(1).

Filing Deadlines – Generally

“The filing deadline for any document filed electronically is 11:59:59 p.m. in the time zone where the court is located on the day the document must be filed.”  UTCR 21.080(2).

When is a Document “Submitted?”

“The court considers a document submitted for an electronic filing when the electronic filing system receives the document. The electronic filing system will send an email to the filer that includes the date and time of receipt, unless the filer has elected through system settings not to receive the email.” UTCR 21.080(3).

Avoiding Rejected Filings

Give documents meaningful file names so they are easily identified and distinguished. Carefully review information entered into the eFiling system, including the document selected for uploading. When filing is complete, check the confirmation.

Be aware of applicable file size limitations (25 MB in Oregon). Jurisdictions vary, sometimes significantly. If you attempt to upload a document that is too large, your filing will be rejected and you may miss a deadline. Adobe Acrobat can help you properly split and label large files for uploading to eFiling systems.

Keep your credit card information current with the court. Required fees must be paid when documents are electronically filed. If your card has expired and the fees are not paid, your filing will be rejected even if the document was uploaded prior to the deadline.

Avoid the most common e-filing mistakes:

  • Entering incorrect party, event, or filing codes
  • Selecting the wrong case or location
  • Failing to associate the attorney with the filing party
  • Improperly filing exhibits – see the limitations in UTCR 21.070
  • Including sensitive or confidential information
  • Failing to separate documents – file motions and orders separately. Do not combine multiple documents of any kind into a single PDF unless allowed by UTCR Chapter 21.
  • Missing information – signatures missing or no party information entered
  • Submitting illegible documents – PDFs that are not text-searchable or PDFs scanned upside down
  • eFiling documents that must be filed conventionally, such as documents needing a judge’s signature or amended complaints that result in an increased filing fee. See UTCR 21.070 for a complete list of documents that are not eligible for eFiling.
  • Failing to pay fees or paying incorrect fees

Leave default system settings alone to ensure you will receive rejection notices. See the discussion above, “What Happens When a Document is Rejected” under
UTCR 21.080(5).

The Most Important Advice

Don’t eFile documents at the last minute. E-filing is a somewhat tedious process: you must log in, enter the appropriate field codes, pay applicable fees, select and possibly split your documents for filing, and so on. If you lose your Internet connection, your computer crashes or you encounter other technical difficulties, there is no time for recovery. Upload documents during regular business hours when technical support staff are available and you have sufficient time to remedy any technical glitches.

Train Now to Avoid Problems Later

Above all, get trained. User guides, reference guides, and rules can be found here. Free Web training sessions and self-study online training are available here.

Schedule a presentation on Oregon eCourt for your organization or agency. Call or e-mail:

Oregon Judicial Department
Office of Education, Training and Outreach
503-986-5911
oeto@ojd.state.or.us

Technical Support

Oregon Judicial Department Help Desk – Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm (Pacific)
503-986-5582 or 1-800-922-7391
ETSDHelp@ojd.state.or.us

OJIN Online Subscriber/Business Support – Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Pacific)
1-800-858-9658
OJIN.Online@ojd.state.or.us

File & Service/eFiling User Support – Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (Mountain)
Tyler Technologies
1-800-297-5377
Efiling.support@tylertech.com

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis