E-briefs - New Auto-Hyperlinking Feature on TAMES

Posted by Rich PhillipsA new feature in TAMES (Texas Appeals Management and E-Filing System) automatically adds hyperlinks to case and statute citations in briefs filed electronically in Texas state appellate courts. Within 10 minutes after the clerk adds the brief to the court’s server, the process will automatically run, identify the citations, and add hyperlinks. The process will run only on documents that are uploaded as “briefs” in PDF format that are text-searchable. This is similar to a process that the Fifth Circuit has been using.I spoke to Blake Hawthorne (the clerk of the Supreme Court) about this new feature. He confirmed that it is already active on the courts’ internal TAMES system. The process recognizes pin (jump) cites and will link directly to the cited page. Also, it can process both short citations (i.e., “999 S.W.3d at 2”) and “Id.” citations. Blake did say that an issue could arise with “id.” citations in footnotes, because the system does not distinguish between body text and footnote text. It will just scan back up the page for the first recognizable citation and assume that the “id.” points to that citation.There is also a key caveat for citing unpublished opinions. Apparently, the functionality used to create these links is not accessible on Lexis, so the links will be to Westlaw only. Therefore, for unpublished cases, it would probably be a good idea to convert any Lexis citations to Westlaw citations (or at least include the parallel Westlaw citation) so that they will be properly linked.Finally, this feature works only on the courts’ internal systems. So, the automatic hyperlinks will not appear in the version of the brief that is posted to the court’s on-line docket. They will be available only to the judges and court staff.Last week on Twitter, Blake posted a link to a training video about this and some other new features in TAMES. If you’d like to see what the hyperlinks look like and some additional details about the process, you can watch the video here.