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The Georgia Court of Appeals clerk of court identifies the twelve most common mistakes lawyers make when practicing before the court: 1. Attorneys fail to sign pleadings or to sign and attach certificates of service. 2. Attorneys fail to enclose filing fees. 3. Attorneys file notices of appeal although they do not intend to represent the party on appeal. Once lawyers have filed the notice of appeal they will then have to file a motion. 4. Attorneys fail to send motions when seeking court action. Lawyers often send letters instead of motions when they want the court to take action. Letters are not treated with the same dignity as motions. Letters get clocked in, are placed in a file, and may not be noticed. 5. Attorneys fail to call before coming to the clerk’s office to view a record. Sometimes the record will not be available for immediate review because it may be in a judge’s office. The original record is kept at the trial court and can be viewed there if the record is unavailable at the Court of Appeals. 6. Attorneys fail to read the docketing notices sent from the court. Docketing notices includes the case number, briefing schedule, how and when to apply for oral argument, which division and judges have been assigned to the case and other important information. 7. Attorneys fail to read the notices of remittitur. The record will be preserved by the Court of Appeals for one year after the remittitur date. After that it will be recycled (destroyed), unless the attorney notifies the clerk in writing that the record should be preserved. Once it’s recycled, if the case is appealed again, the appellant will have to pay the trial court to copy the record — again. 8. Attorneys fail to have the case number ready when calling the clerk’s office. Although cases can be located by name if necessary, having the case number greatly speeds the process. 9. In the case applications, attorneys fail to have a stamped filed copy of the order from which the party is appealing. 10. Attorneys fail to communicate through the clerk’s office regarding a case. There should be no communication between lawyers or parties with any judge or a member of the judge’s staff regarding any pending case. Letters sent to a judge about a case get routed back to the clerk. 11. Attorneys fail to show up on time for oral arguments. 12. Attorneys and parties come to the court without a check or the correct change for copies of the record or the indexes of the records. If it costs $4 for copies and the attorney has a five dollar bill, the clerk is not allowed to “keep the change.” William L. Martin III has been the Georgia Court of Appeals clerk of court since 1994. Martin is an attorney and veteran journalist formerly of the Opelika Daily News.

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