ISSUE 2 │ VOL. 8 │Summer 2020

E-filing a motion in the New York Supreme Court differs a little from filing a motion at the appellate level. When filing a motion with supporting affirmation and related exhibits at the Supreme level, these documents are to be uploaded individually to the docket.  If you look at the NYSCEF document list, you can see that an entry is created for each document. The court also requires documents to be text searchable (OCR). Depending on the Judge, you may or may not be directed to file hard copies of your motion.

However, when it comes to filing a motion at the appellate level, it must be uploaded as a single PDF document. The court also requires that single PDF document to be bookmarked and OCR. In addition, not having the PDF bookmarked with a short description of the documents attached will result in the return of your motion. Once the deficiency is addressed, you will be able to re-upload the motion through the “re-file” button, retaining the original filing date. Please note that once the motion has been processed by the Appellate Division, a hard copy of same is to be filed within three (3) business days.

With the onset of electronic filing in the Appellate Division during the course of the past year, very specific rules regarding preliminary e-filing requirements in the Appellate Division have been promulgated.  Specifically, section 1245.3(a) of the Electronic Filing Rules of the Appellate Division states, in pertinent part, that “counsel for the appellant or the petitioner… shall within 14 days of filing of a notice of appeal, or entry of an order granting leave to appeal, or entry of an order transferring a matter to the Appellate Division: (1) register or confirm registration as an authorized e-filer with NYSCEF; and (2) enter electronically in NYSCEF such information about the cause and parties; and e-file such documents, as the court shall require.”

The aforementioned process is colloquially known as the initialization of a Notice of Appeal at the Appellate Division.  The question arises: what are the consequences for an Appellant who fails to meet this 14 day deadline?  In short, for the moment, there are no grave consequences.  The Appellate Division has been (thus far) very lax in strictly enforcing this 14 day period.  Accordingly, one need not worry that his appeal will be dismissed on day 15 for failure to initialize a Notice of Appeal.  However, rest assured that when it comes time to perfect the appeal, appellant will be unable to do so if this initial process remains undone and a case number has not been obtained and served upon the other side.  Accordingly, as a matter of self-interest, it is incumbent upon every appellant to initialize his Notice of Appeal as soon as possible (ideally within 14 days of the Notice of Appeal having been filed in the Supreme Court), obtain the Appellate Division Case Number and serve it on the other side.  That way, when it is time to perfect the appeal, appellant will have complied with all preliminary requirements and not face the prospect of being unable to perfect the appeal in a timely manner.

Please note that notwithstanding the foregoing, it is certainly possible that at some point the Appellate Division will strictly enforce this 14 day requirement.  Don’t fall victim to he who hesitates is lost- initialize your Notice of Appeal post haste.

If you are a Cross-Appellant on the appeal and have not done so then you will have to upload your Notice of Appeal or Cross-Appeal along with the Informational Statement and the Order or Judgment being appealed from.   You can use your NYSCEF credentials and upload to the Appellate Division in which the appeal is being perfected.

As a Respondent on the appeal the above steps are the same with the exception that there is no need for the Respondent to upload a Notice of Appeal and/or a Notice of Cross-Appeal.

If 20 days have passed since the Notification of Case Number was served, the Appellant is not required to serve hard copies to the other parties.  It is imperative to respond to the Notification of Case Number as soon as possible,  because if you are not registered you will not be aware of when the Record  on Appeal and Appellant’s Brief have been e-filed on the NYSCEF system, and this may prevent you from filing a timely Cross-Appellant and/or Respondent Brief.

To sum up, when filing a Deferred Appendix, please keep in mind that two briefs are required to be filed by each party, “Page Proof” and “Final Form.” The “Page Proof” Brief containing citations to the Record and the “Final Form” Brief containing citations to the Appendix.

Taylor Romano | Digital Marketing Assistant | PHP

As anyone who works in the legal industry is aware, not everything is set in black and white. Even with prior precedent in place, within every case there lies “gray areas.” Hence the ability to appeal decisions. When it comes to gray areas in the legal industry, marketing certainly has its place, especially amidst a global pandemic.

When it comes to marketing during uncertain times there are several challenges. Just to name a few: understanding and staying relevant to your audience, keeping your audience updated, and staying ahead of the competition. The strategy and creative thinking behind legal marketing initiatives vary business to business, but in the legal industry the execution is based on the assumptions that courts are always operating, businesses are open, and people are seeking counsel.

So, what happens when a pandemic progresses from initial panic to full shutdowns deeming businesses essential or non-essential, courts are closing, employees are forced to work from home, people are quarantined (and hopefully staying six feet apart from each other) and everything is suddenly electronic? Your business is forced to adapt or cease to exist. So let’s explore three challenges of marketing in the legal industry during a pandemic.

1. Understanding and Staying Relevant to Your Audience:

Due to stay-at-home orders, assumptions that people are working within normal business hours go out the window. Employees with families have to simultaneously work and home-school their children and many do not possess the same resources at home as they do in the office, not to mention the pressure and anxiety that come with a global pandemic and the unknowns that follow.

Knowing the realities facing your intended audience is essential to marketing success. You cannot be out of touch. Marketing must be generated that empathizes with your audience and gives a message of reassurance that we are in this together. Untimely humor or fast pitch marketing can easily turn off a client and possibly lose them forever. They want to know you genuinely care about their safety and health and that you are working within guidelines to get the word out to them. Keeping clients updated with constant new court information is essential for staying relevant. So once your clients are on board with that how do you get your message across?

2. Keeping Your Audience Updated:

As digital as the world is in 2020, state courts have been lagging behind the curve and have only recently embraced technology. Due to the pandemic, courts have suspended hard copy filings of records and briefs, attorneys are arguing their cases virtually, judge’s courtrooms are absent personnel and each of the appellate division courts are operating independently of each other, making it difficult to determine how and when appeals should be filed.

With all that, it is crucial for the marketing team to send out emails, communicate the status of office personnel, update websites and post to social media accounts daily. Any news that can have an effect on business operations is essential to communicate. However, marketing at this time is not just the responsibility of the marketing team. Everyone in the company becomes a marketer. Sales personnel must be calling and emailing clients, paralegals have to keep communication lines open between clients and company staff, A/R personnel should be closely monitoring receivables and again communicate with sales personnel to get out the message to our clients that we will work with you during this difficult time. The more that people in your business operate as one voice, the better it will be to keep your audience updated.

3. Staying Ahead of the Competition:

Even in quarantine, competition is amplified as businesses try to stay afloat during uncertain times. Keeping an ear to the ground as to how your competition is serving their clients during this time may open up opportunities in the market.

Since everything in this pandemic has forced businesses to go digital, checking in on competitor’s email campaigns, websites and social media accounts are good places to begin. While looking at the information competitors are providing, it is a good idea to compare strategies and make an honest assessment. If competitors are providing more information to clients than you are, then you likely need to step your game up. In contrast, if you feel as though you are ahead of the curve and operating on all cylinders, now is not the time to become complacent. Instead, ramping up marketing efforts and adapting your strategy will only facilitate staying ahead. Finally, although awkward, if you maintain good relations with your competitors it never hurts to call the competition directly and have an honest conversation about how they are working through the pandemic.

All in all, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many unique challenges, but if marketing teams are able to research, strategize and communicate effectively and efficiently, then clients will be satisfied and reassured that your business is there for them.