Paperless technologies enhance court workflow, reduce spending

March 26th, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Business Process Automation | Document Management | Information Management | Workflow

Emerging electronic document management technologies are changing legal processes around the country, enabling improved workflow and reduced errors for faster case resolution. These tools have allowed lawyers and police officers to better manage growing documentation as well as accelerate decision-making.

Law Technology News reported that T.J. Johnson, program manager for the Internal Legal Technology Association (ILTA) and Michele Gossmeyer, president of ILTA, highlighted how new tools will transform the legal profession at a recent summit. Gossmeyer predicted that over the next five to seven years, law firms will leverage advanced technologies for more collaborative capabilities and better business process automation. Additionally, Johnson cited workflow optimization and data life cycle management as solutions that have been cited "most significant" by ILTA members.

Precision leads to savings
Michigan's St. Clair County is just one county court system that has deployed these tools to enhance efficiency, according to the Times Herald. Tim Cook, the St. Clair County district court administrator, told the source that recent legislation allowing for paperless courts is expected to go into effect this summer, and district court will have approximately 80 percent of the document imaging system in place. With the e-ticketing system, officers can swipe drivers licenses, print citations and send reports to the district court. Cook revealed that since officers are no longer recording this information by hand, there is reduced room for error. Previously, approximately 10 percent of citations given out annually had to be disposed of due to written errors, which at an average fine of $85 a ticket, resulted in a loss of about $140,000 a year. Furthermore, Cook explained that clerks save about six hours every day in labor from administrative tasks.

"We have to do more with less people and the only way to get that done is through automation, otherwise the services are going to suffer," Cook told The Times Herald.

St. Clair County prosecutor Mike Wendling revealed to the source that his office went completely paperless in 2009, providing about 1,000 square feet in space that was formerly used to store paper. Wendling also said his office staff spends 10 to 20 less hours a week looking for documents as a result of the paperless transition. County Clerk Jay DeBoyer explained that the circuit court aims to have all records from 1998 onward converted to an electronic format within the next two to three years.

The push for paperless will continue as courts realize greater productivity, use of time and accuracy from electronic document management and related technologies that fuel these improvements.

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