Since courts were first created, there has been paper. A lot of paper. Copies. Lots of copies. Staples, again lots. And envelopes. The legal system has to be one of the worst in terms of overuse of paper copies for this, that and everything in between.
Florida attorneys no longer have to print out their complaints, documents, exhibits, motions, notices, requests, subpoenas and everything else we do. In the past we had to print out the original, sign it, make multitudes of copies, staple, mail everything out, and even include return envelopes so we can get copies of what we file back. The redundancy of paper in the system has been a real problem in my opinion, requiring lots and lots of courthouse filing rooms, personnel and expense to manage.
However, effective April 1, 2013, all Florida courts use e-filing. Now, when I draft a complaint, motion, notice, etc., I just save it from Word as a Pdf file, log in to the state’s e-filing portal and upload the document to my case, then e-mail it to opposing counsel. This is a tremendously revolutionary change in our judicial system and one that should ultimately result in increased efficiency in case management for attorneys and courts across the board.
By reducing the amount of time and expense that litigants have to waste on things like paper, things that do not relate to the core issues in a dispute or transaction, our judicial system can more effectively manage the important work that we do. This important work includes both the protection of individual rights and enforcement of duties, but also the corollary right to effectively participate in our system of justice. The days of clerks wheeling in carts filled with files and folders will soon be over, and attorneys and judges will be able to better focus on the documents that we need to litigate and adjudicate cases respectively.