Ventura County Superior Court Judge Glen M. Reiser may be the best friend that you haven't met yet. In its (corrected and reprinted) Judicial Spotlight column, the Daily Journal provides some insight into why complex matter litigators should be lining up to support Judge Reiser's efforts. (Iafolla, Passion for Change, Daily Journal (April 16, 2008) p. 3 (by subscription only).)
Judge Reiser is "involved in the development of the software" that is the California Case Management System ("CCMS"). CCMS, version 3, is operative in several counties, including San Diego and Ventura. Sacramento is also part of the test project. CCMS, version 4, should be under development at this time, based upon at least one news report about CCMS, version 4, from December 2007. The California Case Management System, when operative, will allow online document access and e-filing in California's Court system of roughly 450 courthouses. (Carreon, Online Civil Filings Will Replace Court Paper, Sacramento Bee (October 12, 2007).)
The present goal is to connect every Superior Court in California by 2012. When completed, it is believed that CCMS will constitute the world's largest single online court system. For the complex matter litigator this is the holy grail. It is easier than ever to create high quality, text searchable pdfs. The ability to file electronically, obtain electronic copies of filings, and search the entire court system for information about cases should provide a definite boost in efficiency.
That is, of course, if the Court system stays out of its own way. Consider the recent change in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. E-filing is now mandatory in all civil matters. Great news, right? Not if you've tried to navigate through its painful set of menu choices to find the "right" category for your document. Oh, and those courtesy copies you used to have delivered to the Judge's drop box (per Orders of each Judge)? You still have to do that, but now you have to attach your proof of e-filing to the back of the paper copy. And you thought e-filing would save on all those messenger fees. The CCMS project should learn from these types of implementation failures and make navigating the judicial system easier for everyone in California. Support the efforts of Judges like Judge Reiser, but if you run into him, ask him to make sure that CCMS is an efficiency booster, not an extra step.