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Practice Tips

Guidelines for Preparing and Filing Pleadings

At the Office

Final Touches

  • Make sure your pleading is complete and all exhibits are attached. Once a pleading has been filed, the clerk's office will not remove, substitute or add pages, even for minor typographical errors.
  • Look at the case caption one more time.
  • Make sure the case number is correct.
  • The letter or letters after the case number should be the beginning of the judge's last name.
  • If a case has been reassigned, be sure to change the letter.
  • Put the judge's name under the case number.
  • Include the magistrate judge's name if there is an order of reference.

Getting Your Pleading Together

  • Make sure you clearly indicate the original.
  • Use heavier bond paper, sign with blue ink, stamp the corner "original" or use the tried and true post-it note system.
  • Fasten your papers together using black document clips. Do not use staples.

Note: If you are used to making "blue backs" for your pleadings, don't bother. We just tear them off and throw them away.

Number of Copies

  • The clerk's office wants the original only on:
    • proposed orders
    • certificates of service
    • unexecuted default certificates
    • returns of service
    • administrative records.
  • Make copies if you need to.
  • The clerk's offices requires that you file a courtesy copy for the judge on pleadings such as:
    • motions
    • memoranda
    • stipulations
    • notices of hearing
    • notices of appearance
  • If the case has been referred to a magistrate judge, make two judge's copies and identify one for district judge and one for the magistrate judge.
  • If you want a conformed copy (a copy with the date filed stamped on it), make one more copy.
  • Put the original and copies together.
  • If you are filing a motion and a memorandum in support, fasten the original motion on top of the copies of the motion. Place the original memorandum on top of the copies of the memorandum.

Note:The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals requires that file stamped copies of pleadings be placed in the record on appeal so it is a good practice to keep conformed copies in the office file.

Getting your Pleading to the Court

Mailing/US Postal Service/Express Mail/Federal Express et al

  • Place your pleading in a large envelope so it is sent flat and unfolded to the court. Papers that have been folded to fit in a business envelope are difficult to process and difficult to retain as a permanent record in the case file.
  • If you want conformed copies back, enclose an extra copy and a stamped self addressed envelope.
  • You really do not need to write a transmittal letter unless there is something very unusual about the pleading and the processing of the pleading.. We can generally figure out that you have sent us the pleading to be filed and don't worry, we never hesitate to call if there are any questions.
  • If you are filing a large document and want a conformed copy, enclose a copy of the cover page only, and a return envelope. We will stamp the cover page and you can attach the rest of the document in your office when you receive the cover page back in the mail.
  • Mail is file-stamped on the business day in which it was received.


Updated 05/12/2015