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Clerk's Office General Filing Tips - Alexandria Division

1. Attorney Civil Case Opening Procedures: Effective November 1, 2018, attorneys are required to electronically open civil cases and pay the appropriate filing fee via Pay.Gov. Please click here for more information.

2. When completing the Civil Cover Sheet (JS 44), please note any related cases in section VIII of the form. This information is required if there are any related open or closed civil cases.

3. Timeliness in filing is appreciated. Our office is open 8:30 a.m.  to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:00 5:00 p.m. on Friday only.   Waiting until minutes before we close to comply with a deadline puts undue stress on all of us.

4. Try to have the case number when you call the Clerk's Office with a case-specific question. Our cases are assigned to case managers by the last digit of the docket number, so knowing the number enables you to talk with the specific case manager who will be able to answer your question.

5. Local counsel must sign all documents submitted by foreign counsel. Attorneys who are admitted pro hac vice may endorse pleadings, however, our Local Rules require the endorsement of local (admitted) counsel on all pleadings.  Attorneys who are admitted pro hac vice are not permitted to file electronically.  It is the responsibility of local counsel to electronically file documents.

6.   All original documents exempt from electronic case filing are to be filed with the Clerk's Office.  Any copies submitted should be marked as such. If possible, sign the original in blue ink so that we can more easily distinguish it from the copies. If you want a copy of a document returned to you via mail, please send a self-adressed stamped envelope large enough for the document.

7.   Do not file discovery documents. Discovery is not filed in this Court. Pursuant to Federal Rule 5(d) and the 16(b) scheduling order, disclosures do not need to be filed. Disclosures under 26(a)(1) and (2) are to be made among counsel only. Disclosures under 26(a)(3) are to be made among counsel and included as part of the final pretrial conference.

8. Consent Orders. Our court requires a "consent" order for unopposed motions, extensions of time, dismissal of parties and/or cases, etc.  At this time, these orders are exempt from electronic filing.  The consent order must contain the original signature of an admitted attorney for each party who has entered an appearance.  Do not assume that the order will be entered by the court.

9. Motions should be accompanied by either a consent order or a notice of hearing setting the motions for a Friday Motions Docket. Please file a "notice of hearing date" using the CM/ECF system, or submit a consent order or waiver of oral argument with the motion.

10. We cannot accept fax filings. Anything faxed to us will not become part of the file until the original arrives in the Clerk's Office.

11. Be sure to request entry of default before moving for default judgment. Pursuant to Federal Rule 55(a), counsel must file a request for entry of default, together with an affidavit in support of the default, prior to moving for default judgment.

12.  Last-minute filings before hearings or trials.  Documents related to a hearing or trial should be filed early enough to allow for filing, recording, and review by a judge.  If you must file something at the last minute, have a copy delivered immediately to the appropriate chambers.

13. Jury information is emailed to attorneys of record 3 business days before trial (5 business days in capital cases). If you have questions about jury information, please contact (703) 299-2104.

14. Security reminder. The following items are not allowed in the courthouse: cellular telephones, Palm Pilots, Blackberry e-mail devices, pagers, cameras, tape recorders, laptop computers, or any other electronic device. Potential weapons such as firearms, knives, pocket knives, scissors, letter openers, screw drivers, mace, and pepper spray are also prohibited.

15. We cannot answer legal questions or interpret rules and orders.  Our staff receives training as to what constitutes a legal, as opposed to a procedural question.  We are prohibited from interpreting the Federal Rules, Local Rules, and judge's rulings for counsel or their staff.  We may refer someone to a particular rule, but the attorney or assistant must make his or her own interpretation.  If we tell you that  your question is legal in nature and we cannot answer it, please believe us.  We are happy to answer procedural questions or refer you to an applicable rule before you file a case or document.  Please use us as a resource - we are here to help.

Civil / Criminal 703-299-2101
Financial 703-299-2105
Jury 703-299-2104

16.  We suggest that you be familiar with the Local Rules and the ECF Policies and Procedures Manual, as well as the court's pretrial order and Friday Motions Hearing Practice.  If you have never appeared before our judges, please ask about and/or observe court proceedings.

17. Attorneys are encouraged to review the Code of Pretrial and Trial Conduct.

18.  Counsel and pro se parties must request leave of court before filing any material on computer discs.

19.  Alexandria Division Civil Garnishment Procedures.