On January 1, 2022, amendments modernizing the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure became law. See Louisiana Act. No. 68 (2021). Here is a brief summary of the significant amendments:
- Lawyers are now required to include an email address on every pleading filed for service of process. See La. Code Civ. Proc. arts. 863(a); see also La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 891(A)
- Service of pleadings or orders setting court dates will now be permitted by email. See La. Code Civ. Proc. 1313(C)
- Service will be deemed complete upon transmission so long as the sender receives a delivered receipt. Id.
Tips for the Transition
Louisiana lawyers should consider whether they are ready to implement the new amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure in their law practice. Lawyers must have a working email address. Prudent lawyers would activate the delivered receipt feature in their email to ensure complete electronic service. Additionally, lawyers can include a notation in the subject line of the email to highlight that the purpose of the email is to accomplish service. Lawyers should also review their junk or spam filter settings to make sure important emails are not miscategorized (and overlooked). Lawyers may want to check their junk or spam folders more frequently than normal as lawyers will increasingly rely on email for electronic service.
Most people are resistant to change. Lawyers are no exception. But the recent changes to the Louisiana Civil Code of Procedure are a good thing. First, electronic service is a way to avoid delays from paper filing. Second, electronic services will lessen costs and ease the administrative burden of serving pleadings on opposing counsel. Third, the amendments recognize that the virtual practice of law and the need to work remote is becoming more common.
Members of the Louisiana bar should be patient with opposing counsel during this time of transitioning to the new electronic procedures. Louisiana lawyers should seize this opportunity to implement procedures and programs to transition into a virtual law practice. E-filing can be your first, but it should not be your last, step into the virtual world of practicing law.