Attorneys benefit from new mandates for electronic filing

February 8th, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Document Management | Information Management | Workflow

Courts across the country are implementing electronic filing systems, which have demonstrated considerable success in improving law professionals’ workflow.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that the Court of Queen’s court registry and the Legal Data Resources Corporation (LDRC) recently enacted a paperless project for secure electronic filing in the provincial court system. Winnipeg lawyers have been satisfied with the transition, which has relieved them of arduous tasks related to managing and distributing documents to associates and clients. David Jackson, a lawyer at Taylor McCaffrey LLP, supported the switch to an electronic system, which allows him to arrive at the court with a laptop in place of boxes upon boxes of files. Don Douglas, of Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, also told the source that he prefers electronic document management.

“I found one of the great advantages of it was that once you filed a document and got back the electronic copy from the courthouse, you could just press the email send button and the hundred or so people on the service list could all receive it electronically,” he explained.

Better legal assistance with e-filing
By saving time in the actual distribution of information, lawyers are able to focus more on preparing the documents for better quality. Positive response to digitization has led to a larger initiative to go paperless. Last fall, Manitoba Attorney General Andrew Swan introduced legislation that will support e-filing in more provincial criminal courts. Swan was adamant that these efforts are critical to court productivity and client satisfaction.

“The time has long since gone when clients expect their lawyer to be standing in line at the registry,” he said. “The court needs to move ahead and allow lawyers to safely and securely file documents from their office.”

Other courts are seeing the advantages to a paperless system, including the Rankin County Chancery Court in Missouri. The Clarion Ledger reported that this month, the court will become the most recent to require scanning and emailing of civil court documents. This initiative followed a voluntary e-filing service that was introduced in January of this year, which lawyers found to relieve a lot of administrative pressure. Paralegal Rebecca Rivers of the J. Edward Rainer law firm in Brandon told the news source that digitization has also saved costs on paper, postage and delivery. These benefits have stirred interest in other courts as well: The Chancery Courts of Holmes and Yazoo counties plan to implement voluntary e-filing later this month, and Hinds County plans to make the practice mandatory in March. 

Courts that use electronic document management systems provide more efficient file storage and retrieval, enhancing lawyers’ performance. 

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