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tips for happy clerks

Tips for Happy Clerks in the Third & the Fifth District Court of Appeal

 

Third District Court of Appeal:

Pleadings in General

  • Sign your documents and sign them in BLUE ink. Those signed in black ink can look like copies and it is hard to detect the original.
  • Proofread all documents!
  • Sign the proof of service.
  • Case titles should follow the docket sheet and California Style Manual. If you represent one of multiple defendants, follow the court's lead as to the title. E.g., "People v. Smith et al.," not "People v. Jones" where Jones is your client.
  • Mark the original pleading as "ORIGINAL." This saves time for clerks to identify the original pleading, especially when the original has been signed in black ink, which they also dislike. (See first tip above.)
    NEW TIPS!
  • Effective January 1, 2013, all appellate pleadings must now include counsel's fax number and e-mail address "if available."  (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.40(c)(1).)
  • Fully comply with Rules 8.40(c) & 8.204(b)(10)(D), which requires the front page of all filings to include the attorney name, address, telephone number, and State Bar number of the attorney filing the document or brief.
  • For all motions other than EOTs, send an original and three copies to the court. (See EOTs below for other tips that apply specifically to extension requests.)

Briefs Specifically

  • Mark the front of the original brief with "ORIGINAL." Marking the others "copy" would be great too.
  • Be sure to sign the word count certificate and the proof of service.
  • If citing to U.S. Supreme Court cases, include the Lawyer's Edition parallel cite because that is the report they have on the shelves.
  • Double check your case cites through Shepard's or Westcheck, etc. because case cites are frequently wrong.
  • Give a page cite to the record each and every time you refer to a matter in the record – not just in your statement of facts, but also in the arguments (as required by Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.204).
  • Revise the table of authorities after revising the brief.

EOTS

  • Don't request a weekend, court holiday or furlough day as the next due date. (See Calendar.)
    NEW TIPS!
  • Include "It is so ordered_____" at the bottom of a full page or at least a half-full page (i.e., the court will not sign a blank EOT page that could be removed and separated from the motion). Do not add any additional unique wording to the "It is so ordered" line (eg., "It is so ordered until ___" is not helpful).
  • Be sure to include an enough copies and self-addressed stamped envelopes for the clerk to distribute to all counsel or unrepresented parties, including CCAP for appointed cases.

 

Fifth District Court of Appeal

Pleadings in General

  • Effective January 1, 2013, all appellate pleadings must now include counsel's fax number and e-mail address "if available."  (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.40(c)(1).)
  • If counsel's email address changes, notify both CCAP and the court clerk.
  • Ditto on the blue ink for signatures.
  • When in doubt of how many copies to send, attorneys are always safe in sending an original plus four of any document.
  • Always enclose self-addressed stamped envelopes for return copies.
  • On any motion that requires a Presiding Justice Signature, do NOT put "It is so ordered" and signature line on a blank page. Justices dislike to sign blank pages. Put the requisite language and signature line at the bottom of a full page or at least a half-full page.

Briefs Specifically

  • Ditto on marking the original brief "original." Fifth District Court said this can be typed, stamped, or even handwritten.
  • Wende briefs should say "People v. Wende" on the front cover.
  • When submitting a Wende brief, the court needs the client's most recent address.
  • If mailing a brief pursuant to rule 8.25(b) on the due date, call the clerk. The clerks check overdue schedules on a daily basis and this will avoid a default letter.

EOTS

  • Don't forget to note the current due date, number of days requested, AND the new due date being requested.
  • Don't request a weekend, court holiday or furlough day as the next due date. (See Calendar.)
  • Since the Fifth does not have an EOT form, counsel should clearly mark on the first page of the EOT whether it is a "First Request," "Second Request," etc. This helps staff prioritize their work so that requests that have to go to the Presiding Justice can be processed first.

 

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