On May 23, 2007, I received my training in Electronic Case Filing and Public Access to Courts Electronic Records at the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. In essence, this system allows attorneys and their staff to obtain case information from the Federal Courts using the internet. With this system, counsel has 24 hour access to Federal Court files, the ability to file documents at any time, immediate notification of filing, and the ability to serve parties electronically.
Ultimately, this should mean a cost savings to clients in Federal cases. How? In the old days (and still in Hawaii State Court), to obtain a Court document a paralegal would be forced to visit the courthouse and search the Court file to photocopy the relevant document(s). The photocopy fee at the U.S. District Court is fifty cents per page. My paralegals’ time is also billable to the client. By contrast, under the new system, one of my paralegals can retrieve the document online from his or her desktop, and the printing cost is eight cents per page. A significant savings to the client.
There is also an environmental bonus to the electronic filing system. All the paper used in the legal system “kills a lot of trees.” You would be shocked at the boxes of paper that we go through each month. The more documents that lawyers can file (and serve on our opponents) electronically, the less “trees we have to kill.”
Perhaps someday the Hawaii State Court will adopt this system.