Human Rights Alert
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10-10-16 Chambers Handbook for Judges’ Law Clerks and Secretaries (Federal JudicialCenter1994)
Page numbers refer to page numbers printed at the bottom of the record itself.The only reference to PACER is copied below. No reference at all was found in the document to CM/ECF.However, that may be due to the date of publication of the Handbook.Page 1: “Law clerks and secretaries have no statutorily defined duties; they carry out their judges’instructions”.Page 1:
In most chambers, law clerks concentrate on legal research and writing, while secretaries have primaryresponsibility for administrative matters.”
B. Processing Litigation
The major steps in civil cases are as follows:• Plaintiff commences action by filing a complaint with the clerkof court.• Personal jurisdiction is obtained over defendant (e.g., by serviceof process).
E. Service of Summons and Complaint; Waiver of Service
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure give the plaintiff the option ofnotifying a defendant of the commencement of a lawsuit by (1) servingthe defendant with a summons and a copy of the complaint, or (2)providing the defendant with written notice of the lawsuit, along witha request that the defendant waive service of the summons, in order toavoid the costs of service. Service of a summons or filing a waiver ofservice establishes jurisdiction over the person of a defendant, subjectto the territorial limits upon effective service contained in Federal Ruleof Civil Procedure 4(k).
A plaintiff electing to serve a summons on a defendant may presentthe summons to the deputy clerk either upon or after filing the complaint.If the summons is in proper form, the clerk signs it, places theseal of the court on it, and issues it to the plaintiff for service on thedefendant. A summons (or a copy of the summons, if it is addressed tomultiple defendants) must be issued for each defendant to be served.
The courts are increasingly assisted by computers. All chambers areequipped with personal computers for use by secretaries, and, in manychambers, law clerks also have access to personal computers. Whilethese are used primarily for word processing, other computer assistanceis available. CHASER (chamber access to electronic records), an automatedcase-management retrieval system for chambers that is now runningin pilot courts, helps judges and chambers staff access docketsheets, calendars, and motions information, as well as various statisticaland inventory reports and other data stored in the clerk of court’soffice. Some courts have PACER (public access to electronic records),which can now be made to perform many of the same functions. Thesesystems enable the judge or staff to determine, among other things,pending cases and the date of most recent activity, all pending motions,all matters under submission, and compliance with pretrial ordersand filing deadlines.
Digitally signedby Joseph Zernik DN: cn=Joseph