eService — what is it and what do you need to know?

eService in California

Electronically sharing subsequent documents in litigation is fast, simple, and reliable. However, it isn’t as widely used as it perhaps ought to be, even despite the increasingly spread of tech solutions to other parts of the law office.

What is eService all about and how can your firm benefit from it over traditional forms of subsequent service?

What is electronic service (eService)?

eService is defined in California as “service of a document, on a party or other person, by electronic transmission or electronic notification.” The state’s civil procedure rules provide that eService is available in any case, in any court in the state and not just in eFiling courts as is popularly believed. There are two circumstances where eService is available.

  • First, in eFiling courts, eService is required in all but a few circumstances (e.g. where a self-represented party has exercised their option not to eFile).
  • Second, and less well known, is that eService is available in any court in the state, regardless of whether they’ve implemented eFiling. Parties may eServe documents that may otherwise be served by mail, express mail, overnight delivery, or fax so long as the parties indicate their consent to be eServed in a filing to the court (there’s a simple form — form EFS-005 — on the judicial council website).

Why choose an eService provider over email?

It may seem simplest just to dispatch an email to the parties requiring service. However, service by email carries several risks: the message could be rejected by over-zealous spam or malware filters (very common among law firms!), or the attachment may not be deliverable because of its size (many email service providers restrict attachments to a maximum of 10 MB).

Consider that a short filing of perhaps 20 or 30 pages containing just a couple of scanned exhibits can easily exceed 10 MB, and you begin to see the problem. When using your email service, you also can’t be confident that you’ll receive verifiable evidence that the documents have been both sent and received.

An eService platform, like that provided by One Legal, resolves these common email issues and offers peace of mind and reliability — documents are uploaded to One Legal’s secure servers and the recipient is sent a trackable hyperlink to access the documents. This way you can be sure that your documents are accessible, and you’ll receive verification that they’ve been successfully delivered and received.

The benefits of serving subsequent documents electronically

The benefits of eService will be apparent to anyone who has ever had the joy of a late night drive to the airport post office to meet a deadline. The cost and inconvenience of printing, postage, and couriers are entirely alleviated.

You can also be sure that you’ve received the correct documents. The postal service is improving, but there’s still a real risk of receiving an incorrect package or, because of traffic, flight delays, or logical problems, receiving it late.

Finally, the documents you receive are also, of course, already in electronic format and can be quickly disseminated to everyone in the firm who needs to see them.

More To Explore