[Posted November 24, 2015] It’s that time of year again; time for a roundup of the appellate courts’ operating schedules around the holidays. We’ll start with the feds, since they’re easier.

Thus far the Fourth Circuit has announced only its closing plans for Thanksgiving; the clerk’s office will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27, reopening on Monday the 30th. Although the court’s electronic filing system will be up and running the whole time, all filing deadlines that fall between Thursday and Sunday are extended unto Monday. I don’t have information yet on the Fourth’s Christmas and New Year’s schedule. I’ll post that when I get it, but my best guess is a closing only on the holidays themselves, with perhaps half a day on Christmas Eve (we’ll see about that).

On to the Virginia state courts. The Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of Virginia operate on the same schedule. They’ll close at noon on Wednesday, November 25 and will reopen on Monday morning. They’ll use the same schedule around Christmas, closing at noon on Wednesday and remaining closed the rest of the week. A week later, they’ll be closed December 31 and January 1. Again, any deadlines that fall on any of these days – even the half-days – will roll over to the following Monday.

Finally, my usual warning about a trap for the unwary (and even some of the “waries” among you): These deadline extensions affect documents that must be filed in the appellate court’s clerk’s office. Some documents, notably the notice of appeal, the transcripts, and the appeal bond, must be filed in the trial court’s clerk’s office. For those documents, you cannot rely on the closings in Richmond; you must ascertain whether your local clerk’s office is open. If that local office is open on your deadline day, then you don’t get the extension and you must file on time.

Of course, you can save yourself a lot of anxiety, and enjoy the holidays even more, by filing early. Why wait until the last possible day?

Health and happiness to each of you over this holiday season.