In the last few years, most states have implemented or plan to implement electronic legal filing systems for their courthouses. While the final realities of this change might take time to reach all courts, electronic filing is a significant move towards a more improved system for case filings. Further, attorneys and their assistants are not tied to the same routines and traditions that dictate their time and energy.
What are the Benefits of Electronic Legal Filing?
Electronic filing benefits are evident in some Federal and state court systems. So, if your law firm is new to the world of eFiling, or if your court is about to adopt the approach, here are the things you can look forward to.
Improved efficiency is one of the most significant things electronic filing can bring to your business. You can transfer all your legal documents through a secure connection. This eliminates the need to wait on a courier or stand in line at the court. Also, you’ll not have to leave your office to file some documents at the last minute.
Court clerks also go through the documents easily without additional time transition between filers. With a few clicks, your document will be processed faster and more conveniently than shuffling through the papers as you wait. This way, you free up some valuable time to concentrate on your work.
Better Use of Resources
As a lawyer, it is frustrating to print out the final version of a document only to spot some mistakes on the first page. That means editing and reprinting the document, which makes it possible for papers to pile up. Various studies show that the average law firm uses up to 100,000 sheets of paper per attorney annually.
Luckily electronic legal filing is revolutionizing the industry. It eliminates the need for printing, searching and finding errors, reprinting, changing some information, and so forth. It makes it easier to address an issue, save your document, and resume filing. Better still, it eliminates the storage needed for keeping printed documents. It offers automatic and secure storage.
Imagine having to go through piled-up paperwork to look for a file you need for the next court appearance? This can be pretty overwhelming. Electronic case filing is here to take the burden off your shoulders. When you digitally file your legal documents, you can easily access them whenever need be. In addition, multiple people can review the case simultaneously from wherever they are at. For instance, the jury, court staff, and the opposing party can review the case files, allowing everyone to move forward on the same boat.
Ultimate Security for Documents
Anyone with a valid license can take case documents from the court. This makes it challenging to track modifications to the file. You might not know when pages are added or removed, which can inconvenience a case.
Fortunately, e-filed documents are difficult to modify. You can also do regular audits on the filed documents to make sure none is tampered with or altered. The original date and time of submission have a layer of verification linked to the entire case.
Better Connection to Information
Printed documents rely on the reader’s perception and ability to read and retain keywords. It is also an essential aspect of digital documents, but reading screens opens up more possibilities. Readers have greater control over the information due to text searchability. They can locate keywords and phrases and use bookmarks to aid navigation. This way, you can create a document that appeals to the court staff reading it.
It is easier to track electronically logged files. Involved parties can view status changes, schedule submission dates, and mitigate risks with greater transparency. Electronic legal filing will enable your law firm to have minimal dependence on couriers and third-party delivery services that might not deliver their promises. You also do not have to rely on the availability of the court staff because your documents are filed once you click “submit.” You’ll also have a timestamp as proof that you met the deadline.
When submitting legal documents to the court does not involve a lengthy cycle, your law firm can achieve more. Electronic case filing replaces what could be days of waiting and traveling with a draft, upload, and submission process that takes a few minutes. Better still, your assistant staff can handle the whole thing.
The process frees up resources and time that you and your support staff can commit to streamlining other workflows, meeting your clients, and increasing your law firm’s reach.
Electronic Legal Filing Mistakes To Avoid
Mistakes are relatively common in electronic case filing, with the most frustrating being those that lead to court rejections. That’s why we have shared the mistakes to avoid so that you can have a smooth process.
Discrepancies and Missing Information
While technology speeds up the filing process, it also opens doors for forgetting small things. Some of the common problems include irrelevant and missing information. Therefore, it is essential to double-check your information for clean filings. You can also use legal software and document automation tools to ensure that incorrect and unrelated information is not left in the file.
Incorrect File Formatting
File formatting is a prime thing that requires attention in electronic filing. Each court has requirements around the files and the documents you must include with a case. Therefore, it is vital to understand the file format, file type, file format, and file content your court wants. It is also crucial to ensure that additional documents are associated with the filing if necessary.
To Sum Up
Electronic case filing is significantly faster to process and brings a range of advantages to your law firm. Therefore, your best bet when digitally filing is to familiarize yourself with the territory and even consider hiring an electronic legal filing expert. These professionals understand the intricacies of the process and will go above and beyond to avoid some of the common mistakes involved with e-filing.