Archive for category E-Filing

The Digital US Supreme Court

Last week I learned HERE that US Supreme Court Justice Scalia reads case briefs on an iPad. Newly appointed Justice Kagan is also digital, and reads her case briefs on a Kindle. Check out her comments in this video:

Glad to see the Supreme Court adopting technology to save time and paper.

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iPad Interface and Court Records

iPad’s are working flawlessly in the Court and Office setting. I’ve attached screen shots below for for the benefit of any body that uses the local system.

Our Circuit Court allows remote access to Court files for attorneys to the cases they are attorney of record on. Our office case management system is basically a website we host on our intranet, allowing any device with a browser to access and open case files.

The iPad works great for those functions, allowing me to open any active or closed case in the last 10 years, view the documents in those case files, and even play the audio and look at any photos contained in them. All of the screenshots below are directly from the iPad’s interface.  Click any picture to open it in the native iPad resolution.

Landscape Screen:

Portrait Screen:

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Is Digital Court the Wave of the Future?

Lawyerist says so. Good article about Digital Court Systems HERE.

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Wise County Constitutional Officers Commended for utilization of Information Technology

The WIse County Board of Supervisors recently adopted a resolution commending the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Sheriff, and Circuit Court Clerk for their use of information technology to reduce paper expenses, and increase efficiency and productivity.

A little over a year ago, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office began the switch to a completely digital case management system. We now have reached that goal and no longer create a paper files. We appreciate the Board Of Supervisors for recognizing our efforts, along with the efforts of the Sheriff’s Office and Clerk’s Office. Full Resolution is below.

Digital Resolution

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Don’t have a computer with .PDF creation software? No problem.

If you need a .PDF file and are not using your computer, you can easily make one online. If you are like most people on planet earth, you have a Google account. A Google account comes with a great deal of free features, including Google Docs, an online document creator/editor. You can upload any type of file into Google Docs, including any type of word processor file.

Once you upload your file from your word processing software to Google Docs, you can then save and download it in multiple formats, including .PDF.

Check out this screenshot:

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Wise County recognized by Virginia General Assembly for digital case/efiling efforts

The Virginia General Assembly has recognized Wise County and the City of Norton for their leadership and innovation in information technology in judicial administration. Full text of the Joint Resolution below.

Wise County Resolution

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Metadata and the attorney…

Know what metadata is? Metadata is basically data about your data. Metadata is the who, what, when, where, and why of documents, pictures, etc… that you create. For example, the metadata in a Word document may contain the author of the document, when it was created, the text that was edited, deleted, etc….

Imagine drafting a plea agreement, contract, will, deed, etc… in Word. Any opposing counsel could open the document and see the metadata, and perhaps the changes and revisions you made. Why do we care? Ethics. You could potential be sending out sensitive client information unwillingly. While not malicious in itself, metadata can cause you some serious concerns when dealing with a client’s sensitive documents.

Most programs like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc… insert metadata into their files. A good practice for any attorney is to get rid of it if you don’t want anyone else poking around in it. How do we do that? By scrubbing it, of course!

There are a lot of ways to “scrub” metadata from a document. If you are using Adobe Acrobat products and creating .PDF files, it is easy. Before you save the document, simply select “document” then “examine document”. Look at this example of Lane Kiffin’s contract with the University of Tennessee:

Look at the left column. It shows the metadata in this document and even gives the option to look at deleted or cropped areas, and remove the metadata. The ability to remove metadata is one more advantage to the .PDF file format.

If you use Word, there are several ways to remove metadata from your Word documents as well. Newer versions of Word have a similar “examine document” function like Acrobat, but older versions don’t. If you use older versions of Word, you may be interested in the free program Doc Scrubber. You can download it HERE. Doc Scrubber is only for Windows computers, though.

While beneficial sometimes, metadata can certainly be bad for attorneys. Some states have addressed this in legal ethics opinions and made it the sending lawyers duty to remove it, and admonished receiving lawyers for looking at it as a unauthorized look at potential attorney-client privileged information. So why risk it? Just remove it.

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Save any printable document as a .PDF file for free

The .PDF file format is quickly becoming a necessity for any business. If you are an attorney and work in Wise County or in any Federal Court, you must know how to save documents as .PDF files. For many newer office software suites, the ability to save a document as a .PDF file is built in.

But what if you have an older version of Word, or are still using WordPerfect? You may be interested in PrimoPDF or CutePDF. Both work virtually the same, installing a “virtual” printer on your computer. The benefit gained is the ability to create a .PDF file from any printable document. Both work well, you can’t really go wrong with either. The videos below show how simple they are to use.

Go Here to download PrimoPDF.

Go HERE to download CutePDF.

Own a Mac? The ability to “print to” or “save as” a .PDF is built in.

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