Monday, December 09, 2013
Ind. Courts - More on: Judicial Technology Oversight Committee to meet Tuesday for the second time
PACER, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, and Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF), an electronic case management system that began in the late 1990s, have together fundamentally changed how federal courts, and the lawyers, judges and staff who work in them, perform their jobs.
Lawyers speak of reduced stress at a workday’s end, knowing they can electronically file a document until midnight, without fear that the courthouse doors will close on them. In clerks’ offices, work has changed from filing and stamping papers to performing quality control to make sure electronic entries are accurate and up to date. And everyone, from a self-represented litigant to an appellate judge, can track cases and case documents in nearly real time.
“Even skeptics have grown to love it,” said Stephen Funk, an Akron-based lawyer who said his colleagues quickly came to trust the system’s reliability and relative simplicity. In cases with multiple litigants, for example, it is far easier to notify all parties of new case documents by email, rather than through multiple paper mailings.
“Lawyers know that the judge is promptly receiving what is being filed,” said Funk, who practices extensively in the Northern District of Ohio. “Lawyers like the ability to get documents out to everyone simultaneously. The system works more fairly and equitably.”
Online access and case management also altered clerk’s offices, where paper had been king for decades. * * *
“Twenty-five years ago, the vast majority of cases were practically obscure. Today, every Third Branch court is using CM/ECF and PACER,” said Michel Ishakian, chief of staff for the AO’s Department of Program Services, who oversaw PACER from 2008 to 2013. “That means that all dockets, opinions, and case file documents can be accessed world-wide in real time, unless they are sealed or otherwise restricted for legal purposes. This level of transparency and access to a legal system is unprecedented and unparalleled.”
Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 9, 2013 01:21 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts