As a newly admitted attorney, you can sometimes feel clueless having not learned all the tricks of the trade.  In law school you don't actually learn the practice of law and even something as simple as filing a case with the Court can seem difficult when you have never done it before.  Also, each court has it's own procedure of what it wants and requires in order for you to commence a lawsuit with their court.  This acticle will shows you what you will need in order to file a case with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York (SDNY).

When I worked as a law clerk and even as a first year associate, it was frequently my responsibility to file cases with the SDNY court clerk as I worked for a small firm and they found it easier to send me than to file the case through service. Without fail, it seemed as though nearly every time I had to file a case, I forgot how many copies of each document I needed to bring with me.  My office was not located near the SDNY and there is nothing worse than running around a courthouse trying to make photocopies of documents.  The photocopiers are frequently broken and always require change--something I never have.  Further, courthouses typically do not have change machines and even when they have change machines they are frequently broken.  Forget askings someone for change--who in New York carries around dozens of quarters?--and if they do, you know it's to make their own photocopies, not to share with you!

In order to help out fellow attorneys who are starting out, I decided to write this articles as the ultimate "how to" guide for filing a case with the SDNY. This article addresses the step-by-step procedure for filing an action with the federal court, it explains where to go, what to bring, and how many copies of each document you need.

The first step is where to go?  The SDNY Courthouse is located at 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York.  (It is behind the New York State Supreme Court building.)  When you arrive at the court house, go through security and then head the Clerk's office located on the first floor.

You will need to have the following documents to present to the SDNY clerk: filing fee, Complaint, Summons, and Rule 7.1 Statement.

Filing Fee
Anytime you commence an action, the court requires a filiming fee.  The SDNY's filing fee is $350 which must be made payable to "Clerk of Court--SDNY"

You must bring an original copy of your complaint as well as 2 copies of the complaint.

You will need a copy of the summons for every party that needs to be served.  The clerk will stamp and return the summons to you to serve upon the parties.

Rule 7.1 Statement
You will need 2 copies of the Rule 7.1 Statement for the clerk.

Office Copies
In addition to all that is required to present to the clerk in order to commence your action, you will also want to bring an office copy of each document to keep for you office records.  Present your office copies to the clerk and request that he/she stamps the office copies for you as well.  Your boss will certainly want stamped copies and that way if you for some reason lose or forget a copy, you have an extra set of all documents stamped by the court.

Tip: When in doubt bring an additional copy of any and all of your documents!  It is better to have an extra copy than to not be able to file your case because you are a copy short of a document.

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 2012-2013 Educational Edition
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If you are going to be practicing in the federal courts, it is always good to have a copy of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on hand for your ready reference.