The 9th Circuit said Thursday that it will save $350,000 over the next year by processing its opinions in-house instead of contracting that service to West Publishing.
The San Francisco-based federal appeals court said it has been processing its own opinions since early November.
“Court staff now manage the process of converting opinions from the original word processing documents into Adobe PDF files, which are then uploaded onto the website, where they can be viewed and/or downloaded by the public,” it said in a statement.
The court said it “expects to save an estimated $350,000 in the first full year of in-house production of the opinions.”
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The opinions are formatted for optimal viewing on a tablet computing device. On a regular desktop or laptop computer screen, opinion text will initially appear oversized but can easily be redisplayed in normal size using the options available in the Adobe Reader software.
A more important change involves the addition of case summaries prepared by court staff. The summaries save time by allowing readers to quickly get the gist of a decision without having to search through the opinion itself. West previously produced the summaries, but for copyright reasons they could not be included with opinions made available online.
“The formatting change reflects the growing use of tablet devices by both the bench and bar,” said Clerk of Court Molly C. Dwyer. “We are continuing to print a limited number of copies for judges who request hard copy. But I think many judges have become quite comfortable using the electronic versions.”