September13Report - page 5

September 2013 CBA REPORT
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cover article
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ssume that you are a junior as-
sociate working for a law firm
located in New York. Your firm
is representing a client that sued one of
its competitors in the U.S. District Court
for the Central District of California
and, accordingly, your firm retained lo-
cal counsel for the matter (as it should).
After discovery is completed, the oppos-
ing party files a motion for summary
judgment. Fourteen days later, your firm
files an opposition to the motion. The
court rejects your opposition for being
untimely because, unlike the Eastern
District of New York, the Central District
of California requires opposing papers
to be filed no later than ten days after
the service of the motion. To add to your
chagrin, you learn that under Local Rule
7-3, the opposing party was required to
discuss previ-
ously with your
firm regarding
the substance
of their motion
for summary
judgment and
a potential
resolution. By
stating this in your opposition, the court
would have denied the opposing party’s
motion for summary judgment.
To avoid such disastrous scenarios, a
junior associate must take ownership of
his or her role in the matter ­— however
small that role may seem. Reading the
local rules is not only recommended, but
is required of associates as they assist
senior attorneys in both state and federal
courts across the country. Regardless of
what local counsel may state regarding
the local rules, it is the junior associate’s
duty to analyze these rules and ensure
that every filing meets the requirements
of the court. In addition to reading the
local rules, associates should also: (1)
review the chamber’s rules and forms,
(2) examine the electronic filing require-
ments, and (3) contact the court clerk for
information, as appropriate.
Local Rules and Chamber’s Rules/
Forms
Local rules can differ significantly
from court to court, especially with
respect to filing deadlines. For example,
opposition papers must be filed within
21 days in the Southern District of Ohio,
14 days in the District of Massachusetts,
and 10 days in the Central District of
California. By contrast, in King County,
Washington, opposition papers must be
submitted no later than noon two court
days before the date the motion is to
be considered. Oftentimes, individual
judges issue their own rules and proce-
dures in addition to the local rules. These
judge-specific rules may contain further
specifications on filings and in-court
procedures, as well as provide standard
forms for certain motions or orders. For
instance, each judge in the U.S. District
Court for the District of Minnesota
has its own set of “Practice Pointers
and Preferences.” Similarly, at least one
judge in the Southern District of Ohio,
provide a “Standing Order Governing
Civil Motions for Summary Judgment.”
The Standing Order requires the mov-
ing party in a civil case to attach to the
brief in support of a motion for summary
judgment a set of “Proposed Undisputed
Facts” regarding material facts as to
which the moving party contends there is
no genuine issue to be tried. It is there-
fore imperative for associates to review
carefully these court-specific and judge-
specific rules in every case.
Procedures for Electronic Filing
Today, most attorneys take advantage
of the court’s electronic filing system.
When doing so, associates must recog-
nize the importance of reviewing the
court’s policies
and procedures
for electronic
case filing. For
example, par-
ties submitting
documents
electroni-
cally in the
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern
District of Indiana must use the format
“/s/ (typewritten name)” rather than “s/
(typewritten name)” or else the court
will reject the filing. In Florida state
courts, the filers must comply with strict
privacy/confidentiality provisions of the
Florida Rules of Judicial Administration
and certify whether the filing, including
attachments, contain any confidential or
sensitive information. Many of the U.S.
District Judges for the Northern District
By Kenjiro D. LeCroix
The Key to a Young Associate’s Reliability:
Knowing the Local Rules (and more)
To avoid such disastrous scenarios, a junior associate
must take ownership of his or her role in the matter
­— however small that role may seem.
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