REDMOND, Wash., September 7, 1998 — Every year, some 90 million cases and 1 billion legal documents move through the US court system. States can’t keep up with the flow of criminal and civil filings, the number of federal court cases continues to rise dramatically year after year, and the courts keep on adding more judges and judicial officers to handle the work.
A surprising amount of the judicial process is not automated, much less integrated. There is a serious need for a cost-effective, integrated digital solution based on technology available today. SUSTAIN eCourt, developed by CHOICE Information Systems and built on the Microsoft BackOffice platform, is already transforming the practice of law with an online system that is being used by courts and law firms across the country.
Toronto Metro Courts already has implemented this electronic filing solution and predicts a savings of more than $9 million on archiving costs alone. Currently, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Napa Valley Court, New York Court of International Trade, and the Gwinette County Georgia Court System are all in various stages of implementing electronic filing systems based on SUSTAIN eCourt and the Microsoft BackOffice platform.
E-Filing is much more than simply sending documents back and forth. It is a digital bridge linking the electronic world of the law firm with the electronic world of the court. It’s law firms and courts exchanging and accessing all case data, not just documents.
With E-Filing, courts will be able to access court documents instantly. Instead of having to call archives and ask for a document to be found, copied, and delivered, judges can simply pull up documents on their PCs. Court documents can be archived electronically, making them easily accessible and saving millions of dollars in the process. Attorneys can look up docket information and schedules over the Internet, pay filing fees, instantly download documents filed with the court, view case documents and exhibits, and even track the work of opposing counsel.
Clearly, efficiency is the biggest benefit to both courts and law firms — efficiency that comes from being able to instantly access information, communicate and transact business from any desktop. E-Commerce in the justice and legal communities will make the entire system much more efficient and cost-effective, because information will now flow so much faster and more seamlessly from one party to the other.