California Judge Credits Dorsey For Professionalism When Technology Made Opposing Counsel’s Excuse Dubious

“In which our columnist admits he adjusts to new technology about as well as he used to adjust to curveballs.” – Judge William Bedsworth, Associate Justice for California’s 4th District Court of Appeal.

In the Recorder, Judge Bedsworth noted yesterday Dorsey’s courtesy in not opposing an untimely brief by an opposing counsel that he believed was based on dubious grounds (the lawyer claimed to be so upset over a basketball game he could not file on time).

I mention that not only because he highlighted the high professionalism of my own firm (which is true), but also because there is virtually no excuse for not abiding by the technological rules of courts today. Judge Bedsworth notes that the party had until 11:59pm to “e-file” its brief, so there really is no excuse because of a basketball (or any reason) because it could all be done electronically. Judge Bedworth says he doesn’t understand technology, but legal technology has gotten so good he doesn’t need to. And he’s right!

It really is amazing, when you think about it, that in these days of DMV lines dragging, and endless red tape for certain areas of government, the court system is amazingly efficient. For all the griping we do as attorneys, we rarely stop to think about how technology advances in litigation have made it a lot easier to be a litigant in court.

If you have the right access (which is its own story, PACER public access), then virtually anything about a case in the state or federal court system is available to be reviewed. Judges and litigants operate, under then items filed under seal, in complete openness. You can learn a lot by reading the various documents submitted by parties in court that are publicly available. While some investigative journalism is based on court documents, it is always surprising that more is not.

So not only is this a kudos to Judge Bedsworth for noting Dorsey was professional in this instance (and despite his comment, it is appreciated), but he also highlights that technology in the legal profession is at an all-time high. And don’t expect that to stop anytime soon, it is just coming more slowly than other industries.

Jeremy T. Elman

Jeremy T. Elman

Jeremy is a trial lawyer who focuses on high-stakes patent litigation in courts across the country, as well as trademark, copyright and trade secret cases.

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