Why Court Teams & Filers Love Electronic Filing (And You Should, Too!)

In today’s do-it-yourself-economy, people are empowered to manage nearly every aspect of their lives. The explosion of e-commerce, in part, led to a dramatic increase in the number of people choosing to represent themselves in legal cases (aka: self-represented litigants, SRLs, or self-represented filers). In most jurisdictions, SRLs now comprise the majority of filers in many case types.

This proliferation of untrained, self-representing filers has caused major challenges for courts: increased labor required to verify and correct forms, mountains of paperwork, case processing delays, long wait times at counter counters and on telephones, and even security concerns from frustrated filers.

Automated court tools such as Intelligent Interactive Guided Interviews that generate more accurate and complete SRL forms for traditional and e-filing is a proven way to solve these increasing SRL volumes — ensuring legal compliance and reducing court operational costs. See why court teams & SRLs love e-filing, and so will you!

Reason to Love #1:

e-Filing Helps Untrained Self-Represented Litigants Submit Accurate, Complete Case Forms… The First Time Around!

An SRL is at a serious disadvantage: untrained in legal terminology and procedure, potentially with language and literacy challenges, and when left unguided, often fills out complicated forms with incorrect, missing, or illegible information. The net result is that valuable court staff time is required to assist these filers and correct deficient filings.

Fortunately, new advancements in court tools help eliminate errors that occur in paper and fillable forms. Specialized software uses easy-to-understand interview questions to prompt SRLs during their filing, with simple instructions, onscreen FAQs, training videos and other online guidance they can access from anywhere they have an internet connection. Courts receive the right information the first time, every time—reducing the amount of time court staff spends doing re-work and non –value added case processing tasks increasing your efficiency and ensuring legal compliance.

The proof is in the pudding. A 2015 Superior Court of Orange County mandatory e-filing pilot project found, that “the pilot project resulted in significant cost savings for the court and was generally less or equally expensive for litigants and demonstrated the project’s relative ease of use and convenience for self-represented litigants.” [1]

Reason to Love #2:

e-Filing is Eco-Friendly.

In 2004, the U.S. used 8 million tons of office paper [2]. How much time does your court spend copying, faxing and searching  for paper documents? International Data Corporation (IDC) research says your employees are losing an average of 11.2 hours of work each week! Plus think of the amount of space you could be saving instead of storing all those mountains of paper, and the inherit challenges of keeping physical paper secure.

It’s time for courts to modernize. Cloud-based technology eliminates nearly all  paper filings and you gain remote access to court documents. It’s better for your court teams, better for our environment. Show a little love to Mother Earth.

An ROI study in Manatee County, Florida, revealed cost-savings of almost $1,000,000 based on e-filing their 2,321,252 documents per year. Imagine your courthouse running smart, smoother, and saving that kind of money per year.

Reason to Love #3:

e-filing Speeds Up Case Processing & Improves Court Efficiency.

Your court staff is a well-oiled machine when it comes to filing. But when SRLs increase document volume that must be manually processed, with incorrect or missing information; it often leads to stalled cases.

Transitioning to an e-filing system ensures cases are filed accurately the first time. Your courthouse runs smoother and you reduce clerical errors and processing bottlenecks. Documents become retrievable whenever you, or your staff, need them and are accessible from anywhere.

In 2010, Colorado and Utah set out to test these claims, launching a study on e-filing. They found several key benefits, including more accurate court dockets, better customer service and real cost savings regarding file storage units, file folders and postage. [3] Utah now has e-filing implemented in four out of eight judicial districts!

Reason to Love #4:

e-Filing Shortens Counter Lines and Reduces Telephone Traffic.

We all know how frustrating a visit to the DMV can be. Going to the courthouse can feel the same way when people move from one long line to the next in order to obtain basic information on how to properly fill out standard forms. It’s not just your clerks and customers that feel the burden. Your facilities staff and cost feel the pain too as water, parking, trash, waiting areas, restrooms & other facilities are inundated with visitors, becoming crowded and overused.

Courts can reduce the number of people visiting the courthouse by implementing an e-filing solution that can be accessed from any internet-connected device, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Streamline your courthouse operations with online form preparation, delivery, filing, service, and even fee payments. Save yourself some time and enhance your filers’ experience.

Reason to Love #5:

e-Filing Improves Courthouse Security.

The safety of court staff and the public is of utmost importance. More SRLs in the courthouse means increased courthouse security needs. Ex-pen-sive!

Reducing your in-person visitors lessens the need for extra security, and lowers the chances of a violent incident. Furthermore, empowering victims of domestic violence or other violent cases to e-file gives them alternatives to coming to the courthouse—the fear of which could be a deterrent to filing in the first place.

Conclusion

E-filing solves 5 major pain points, giving you 5 reasons to love it: decreases court staff labor costs, ensures accurate SRL filings, reduces paperwork, increases workflow management, eradicates long waits, and enhancing security. Oops, that was 6!

There’s only one solution that guarantees to make your courthouse more secure, more efficient, and give you an increased ROI. TurboCourt is adaptable and often free to activate in your court—your solution for self-represented litigants.

Transition to e-filing now. You and your self-represented litigants will love it! Contact TurboCourt today to revolutionize how you process SRL filings more efficiently and more cost effectively.