Creating a Pleadings File

A “Pleadings File” contains:

A copy (preferably conformed) of all documents filed in the case to date in chronological order, and
A Table of Contents as its first page, showing the name of each document, the name of its filing party, and the date it was filed.

There’s just no getting around it — being involved in a Court case is a paper chase, and it is very, very easy to get overwhelmed by all the papers flying overhead.  In large part, the task is to keep one’s feet planted firmly on the ground and to keep track of the contents of the Court file.  To facilitate record-keeping, it is helpful to create a file dedicated to nothing but Court filings — the Pleadings File — containing a copy (preferably conformed) of all documents filed in the case in chronological order.

The Pleadings File contains all pleadings or other documents filed in the matter:

  • Not only one’s own (Petition, Declaration, Notice, etc.),
  • But also every Court Order
  • As well as any pleading filed by any other party in the matter (eg, Bond, Notice of Publication, Creditor’s Claims, Objections, Requests for Special Notice, 3rd-party Petitions, etc.).

It is also helpful to make (and keep current) a Table of Contents of the Pleadings File and keep it on its first page.  Then, upon opening your Pleadings File, you can immediately see a chronological list of the name of each pleading filed, the name of its filing party, and its date of filling.

Legal files have a habit of getting crazy and chaotic all by themselves.  Maintaining an up-to-date Pleadings File is one touchstone to maintaining sanity and keeping on top of the legal process.