PDF: Paperless Document Filing

If your jurisdiction accepts (or mandates) electronic filing, it probably means one thing: portable document format. And if you’re going to submit a pdf brief, it probably means using Adobe Acrobat.

While there may be few software options, the technology has made a giant leap forward in the last half dozen years or so, according to David Masters, a Montrose, Colo., lawyer who heads his own small law firm.

Masters recalled checking out a presentation on electronic briefs five or six years ago. “I stepped into the room for five minutes at just the right moment to hear that it cost about $5,000 to create an electronic brief,” he said during his presentation Thursday at the ABA Techshow.

“And that wasn’t even to write the brief!” said Masters, author of “The Lawyer’s Guide to Adobe Acrobat 8.0” (American Bar Association).

The price tag, he said, was enough to spark a conversation with his associate at the time about whether they should open a document-assembly shop. In the end, he decided that he like practicing law too much to become a paperless pusher, Masters said.

Masters — with Tom O’Connor, a nationally known consultant, speaker and writer on computerized litigation support systems, playing emcee — covered the nuts and bolts of creating an electronic brief that can make a judge’s (or a clerk’s) job easier.

Answering a question from O’Connor, Masters assured the four dozen people attending the morning session that even lawyers can create a smart brief with embedded links to references and attachments.

— pcz

~ by CDLB on April 2, 2009.

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