Intro to eBriefs in the California Appellate Courts

There have been many changes in the appellate rules recently regarding electronic filings and submissions. To add to the confusion, different districts have varying rules on how they prefer to accept these submissions. To start, a review of some terminology is helpful.

What is an eBrief?

An eBrief is a single disc (CD or DVD) containing links and searchable copies of the reporter’s transcript, the clerk’s transcript or a joint appendix in lieu thereof, all cited authorities and briefs with all citations to the record, authorities and other briefs hyperlinked to the cited material.

Given the extensive nature of the content which must be included, it makes sense that an eBrief is most useful in appeals which contain large records, or technical cases which are demonstrative-intensive.

Short of a full-blown eBrief, a party may (and, in some cases, must) also prepare an e-submission of the brief which is in a text-searchable, PDF format. An electronic submission of a brief supplements the party’s hard copy filing and does not relieve the party of the requirement to file hard copies with the Court.

For certain documents, the electronic transmission, or “e-filing,” of the document constitutes the filing and no hard copies are required to be sent to the Court. Motions, form filings and other routine documents fall into this category.

What is the difference between an eBrief and e-submission?

An eBrief differs from an e-submission in many ways. An e-submission is limited to a single, text-searchable, PDF file which is smaller than 5 MB. In contrast, an eBrief is only limited by the size of the CD or DVD disc, which would range from 650 MB-to-8.6 GB. Furthermore, an eBrief may contain multiple files, and these files may be linked to one another. This allows for the incorporation of multimedia files, such as video, audio and PowerPoint slides. Furthermore, no notice is required for an e-submission, while a party is required to file a notice or motion, depending on the district, to submit an eBrief to the Court.

Why submit an eBrief?

Certain districts, such as the Second District, actively encourage the submission of eBriefs, because it simplifies the navigation process of the documents. It is much easier for the justices to review the briefs and record when citations to the record and legal authorities are hyperlinked. The flow of reading is uninterrupted, because the reader does not need to pause to pull-up the record or search for a case. Global searchability is another key feature in eBriefs since all of the documents are self-contained on a disc.

Furthermore, once an eBrief is prepared, it may be used by the appellate attorney to facilitate a review of the record in preparation for oral argument.

Slowly but surely, all of the districts in the California Courts of Appeal are likely to move towards requiring eBriefs to be filed, because of the great advantages they hold in comparison to regular paper filings. This development, coupled with the fact that the cost of the technology required to prepare eBriefs continues to fall, means the savvy practitioner should monitor this trend and review their ongoing matters for opportune cases to submit eBriefs.

You can learn more about the eBrief services Counsel Press provides by clicking here.

Tagged: Appellate Services, Appellate Practice, Litigation, Electronic Briefs, Court Technology, , California Court of Appeal