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Lawyers, get control of your e-motions. In the information age you’ll be filing them electronically. No more paper. No more proofs of service sheets. No more lost documents. It’s time to get wired with the ease and convenience of the Internet. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stuart Pollak told attorneys in two major cases last week to shut down their copiers, throw away their staplers and forget old methods of filing legal papers. It’s the end of the legal world as we know it and the beginning of a brave new world of unlimited access to court records. Pollak signed identical orders in the Providian credit card fraud and the Microsoft antitrust class action cases authorizing the electronic filing of all documents. The judge says this could be the biggest save-a-tree gesture any court could order. “It’s going to save a whole lot of paper and make service a lot easier,” Pollak said. He said the procedure will make documents from the two cases, In re Microsoft Cases, JCC 4106, and In re Providian Credit Card Cases, JCC 4085, available to anyone in any other state or any other jurisdiction by looking at the site www.justicelink.com. “And people won’t have to clutter their files with stuff until they have a need to use it,” he said. “We’re going to dispense with the paper and all the information will be available on the screen.” Of course, Pollak knows that many of the documents will still be printed out. Lawyers can’t resist the hands-on approach. But he said “it may just be sufficient” to have motions, points and authorities and supporting documents read only online. He also said the e-filing would be a convenience for the courts. He said most S.F. judges require “courtesy copies” of documents. Those would no longer be necessary. “I can sit here [in chambers] and read anything I want and I can also do this sitting on the bench,” Pollak said. “It gives us instant access to the file by the judge, the law clerk and people outside the courthouse.” To file a document, a lawyer in the Microsoft or Providian case will transmit it to LAWPlus, formerly known as JusticeLink, a service provider, which will then re-transmit it to the S.F. trial court. “They will transfer it from their server to our server,” Pollak said. LAWPlus will also have the entire service list and instantly transmit copies of the document to everyone on it. Documents under seal will continue to be filed in paper form. Similarly, there will be no change in the filing of exhibits and real objects that can’t be viewed electronically. But pictures and other images pertinent to the case will be scanned and electronically transmitted with their companion documents. Pollak’s orders also take into consideration such things as computer glitches. If for some technical reason, vendor failure or erroneous exclusion of a party, the judge will grant an order extending time. Pollak said the Microsoft and Providan cases “seemed like a good place to get started” with electronic filing. He said asbestos litigation will be next to go online.

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