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Why Our E-Service Beats Email, Hands Down

15 February 2019|Technology

By Wayne Nitti

Few lawyers can claim that they’ve never mistakenly sent an email message to the wrong person or attached the wrong document. Accidents happen, especially when delivering a message within minutes of a deadline. And yet, many civil litigators handling cases across the country frequently agree with their opposing counsel to serve documents via email.

Granted, law firms, like many financial and medical institutions, rely on email for sending sensitive and confidential client information all the time. In litigation and arbitration proceedings, however, deadlines are absolute and careless errors can result in serious and costly consequences. Moreover, service via email presents considerable vulnerabilities.

Among other issues, large file attachments may be rejected by a recipient party’s email system due to size restrictions. Emailed service documents might be quarantined or land in a recipient’s spam folder and never get noticed. Even worse, documents sent by email, unless encrypted, can be intercepted, viewed, and infected by viruses or malware.

In addition to exposing themselves and their firms to these and other snafus, lawyers who opt to use email also take on the burden of independently verifying proper service, updating and maintaining accurate service lists, and overseeing their own systems for storing, retrieving and distributing documents. Why go to all that trouble when Case Anywhere’s e-service and online case management platform offers a cost-and-time efficient alternative?

The e-service module contained within our litigation and arbitration hubs is the cornerstone of the Case Anywhere system, and it’s well-suited for a dispute among a handful of litigants or a proceeding involving thousands. Acting on a court order or an agreement among the parties, we manage and provide e-service for a huge volume of cases, including matters pending in Los Angeles Superior Court’s complex division. For example, we’re the e-service and case management platform for a coordinated proceeding involving some 700 personal injury lawsuits brought against the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. Since 2014, when counsel chose us as the online case management system for those cases, our e-service module has executed and verified service of some 30,000 documents among more than 500 legal professionals.

Lawyers involved in that proceeding, as well as those in other Case Anywhere–managed matters, trust our team of seasoned litigation and arbitration case managers to oversee much more than proper service:

  • For each case, we create a secure and dedicated hub through which clients can not only e-serve documents but also view and download records and transcripts organized for easy access, communicate over a message board, and calendar case-related events. Although it’s not required, judges, arbitrators and their personnel can also gain access to entire case files, as can in-house attorneys.
  • Documents uploaded through our system become immediately available to all authorized users. E-service follows within minutes, and document notifications are embedded within password-protected links that are accessed via our encrypted connection.
  • Because Case Anywhere is typically implemented by court order in litigations, anytime lawyers from a particular firm join an existing case, they’re on notice to add themselves to our service list and are also required to accept messages sent through our secure server. Once they’ve completed that task, those attorneys and their professional staff suffer no lag time in reviewing unrestricted documents in the color-coded case file, which can be viewed chronologically, by category, or according to specific user needs.
  • Our system delivers proof-of-service notifications and tracks bounce backs. If a service message fails to go through, we contact the intended recipient directly. And if a party claims they were never served, we can independently verify the service.

Finally, lawyers who elect to use our e-service can rest assured that they’re practicing squarely within the four corners of the American Bar Association’s 2017 updated model rules of professional conduct, which require attorneys to be informed on “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.” If you’re ready to move beyond the basics of e-service via email, contact us for a free demonstration.