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"Twine Lawyer" Reminds Us to Remain Abreast of Various Courts' Filing Requirements - Solo Small Firm Practice News

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Solo Small Firm Practice News

Posted on: Feb 20, 2018

By John W. Mervilde, Meils Thompson Dietz & Berish

The ABA Journal recently published an amusing story about an over-his-head lawyer in Maine who was suspended from the practice of law for various missteps that included filing a brief that was bound with twine. This is a good reminder to remain up to speed on the changes in filing requirements as Indiana heads toward full electronic filing, perhaps even by the end of 2018. As of today, e-filing is available in the main circuit/superior court systems of 75 of our 92 counties, including Marion County and all adjacent counties. Still, some populous counties around the state (including Lake, Howard, Wayne, and Warrick) haven't yet implemented e-filing. It is especially important for solo and small firm practitioners, who might have grown accustomed to filing briefs and motions at the last minute with just a few keystrokes, to remember that in some counties, filing still requires copying, collating, and envelope-stuffing. Speaking of binding, the move of Indiana's appellate courts to e-filing eliminated the requirement that parties submit professionally bound and color-coded briefs. This has made state appellate practice easier and cheaper. But please keep in mind that while subsequent filings are electronic, the filing of notices of appeal and motions to accept interlocutory appeals still are done the old fashioned way, and the infamous dropbox for "rotunda filing" remains. Finally, if you find yourself in the Seventh Circuit, remember that while you must electronically file your brief initially, you must also submit bound paper copies (not bound with twine) of the brief to the court and to parties within seven days after acceptance of the brief.  Presumably in the not-too-distant future, all paper filing and service will be extinct, but for now, with our courts in transition, make yourself aware of the rules of each court.

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