Postcard From The National Docketing Association’s Annual Meeting: Lessons From San Antonio

October 14, 2014

Keyboard typingAs a Dockets Specialist for Thomson Reuters, I work with large and medium law firms around the country, helping them with their Business Development, Client Intelligence, and Current Awareness needs. These conversations often quickly turn to how firms can ensure that attorneys can stay on top of client and market intelligence to provide excellent client service.

This week, I attended the Second Annual National Docketing Association Annual Meeting in San Antonio. The theme this year was “Honor the Past, Shape the Future.”  Many sessions provided the opportunity to discuss not only docketing’s current best practices, but also emerging technologies that will help shape the future of docketing. Attending the conference expanded my understanding and appreciation of docketing professionals.

The session “How To Be A Litigation Docketing Professional And Still Sleep At Night” created a lot of energy, despite its title. Some of the key takeaways from the two-part series included the importance of cross-training staff from different offices. Law firm leaders discussed the difficulties in finding qualified docket clerks with relevant experience. The importance of investing in docketing teams is that much more important.

Other session reinforced truisms I’ve gathered from working with my law firm clients:

  • To be a successful docketing professional, you need to be able to navigate the various rules sets: state, federal, local, judges’ rules, standing orders and practices, and clerks’ rules. Also, docket clerks need to have a sense of ownership with the cases they docket.
  • Docketing professionals need to be able to create connections and relationships not only internally, but also with court staff. While docketing a case presents several challenges, the most important step is making sure pleadings are filed properly according to the relevant rule set(s).
  • Docketing professionals can use their role to drive firm objectives. It’s important to look at the whole of a firm’s goals, rather than just goals specific to a role.

Leading docketing professionals discussed pitfalls to collaborate new best practices to help shape the future of docketing. I look forward to hearing about successful implementations of these newly developed strategies.