Shouldn’t you have everything with you in its bulky paper form when going to court? John Harding says going to court with less paper is better.
By John E. Harding
Tomorrow I will be going to court to argue a motion to dismiss, based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The question has been well briefed by both sides. All of the information the court should require is contained within the thirty or so pages that have been filed. I will be carrying that paper with me to court. But do I need more? The entire case file fills a couple of 4-inch binders. If I wanted to take the entire file I could, but I would need at least one rolling briefcase, and I would still have to carry additional materials in hand.
Going To Court with Less Paper: Thanks to Technology
But what if I the judge asks me a question that goes beyond those briefs? What if I need to make reference to some of the case law I cited. What if the judge cannot find one of the underlying docs I have asked him to take judicial notice of in the court file? Shouldn’t I have everything with me in its bulky paper form? My answer is no, I don’t need the entire paper case. Instead, I will put it on my iPad, and carry it to court with me. What are the steps to make it happen? Glad you asked!
First a bit of background. Our practice is digitized. Every piece of paper that comes in on a case, or goes out on a case is converted into a pdf document. Everything that could be in the paper file is in the matter’s electronic file. For tomorrow’s hearing I simply copy the matter’s electronic file (right click the mouse, select “copy”). Then I open my Dropbox account from the icon on the desktop of my office computer. I create a file in Dropbox, then I paste the electronic file into that folder (right click mouse, select “paste”). In a couple of minutes the file is transferred to Dropbox.
Next, I get on my iPad, and open my PDF Expert app. You have lots of choices here, Evernote, iAnnotate, etc., etc. I use PDF Expert as my tried and true favorite. I access my Dropbox account from within PDF Expert, go to Edit, and then select the file that I just copied. Then I click “Download” in PDF Expert. In a few brief moments, the entire matter file is downloaded to my iPad, available at my finger tips.
I have the entire matter on my iPad. Not only that, but I also have all of the California Codes. I have access to every published California opinion thanks to my Westlaw Next account. I have the app for Attorney Briefcase, my favorite family law research product. I have it all, in a format barely bigger than a comic book. Not bad!
John E. Harding, JD, CFLS, AAML is the principal of the law firm of Harding & Associates, with offices in Pleasanton and Walnut Creek, California. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is certified as a specialist in the practice of family law by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Harding has maintained an active family law practice in Northern California since 1989. He practices family law litigation and divorce mediation exclusively. Mr. Harding also writes a blog on technology, marketing and practice management.