Efiling and Cook County

Yesterday i attended a presentation by the Cook County Circuit Clerk about the efiling system they are planning to roll out in March 2009. The vendor Cook County selected is USCourts.com, which is also the vendor for the statewide efiling project in Alabama. The fact that this vendor has a track record doing this is encouraging. On the other hand, Cook County has a few more filings than they have in Alabama. According to the 2007 Annual Report on Illinois Courts, in 2007, ther were a total of 1,955,480 cases filed. According to the USCourts.com representative yesterday, last year there were approximately 250,000 cases filed in Alabama. This number seems low to me for Alabama. I would note that the 2007 Annual Report on Illinois Courts shows that in 2007 there were 318.126 cases filed in DuPage County. Nevertheless there is no question but that they were dealing with fewer cases in Alabama than they will be in Cook County.

Based on the demo presented yesterday, it appears that attorneys will be able to file cases, have summons issued, and review all electronic documents on their case from within the system. I am interested to see what further information is released as this project is rolled out over the next couple of months.

One thing I found interesting at the presentation was that there were several questions that were directly related to AOIC rules, including questions about public access to court documents over the internet as well as questions about why the clerk had to print copies of electronically filed documents. I thought it was clear from several people in the room that there is a huge desire for the ability to access court documents remotely. I am glad I am not the only one who wants this.

Update: I forgot to mention that the efiling project is being rolled out first only to Law Division cases on the Commercial Calendar. Clerk Brown said yesterday that she plan to roll it out to other divisions once the project starts and she gets permission from the AOIC.