Beginning on July 2004, you will be filing electronically in the Clerk’s Office for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. This is the future. The train is leaving the station; you can be on it or under it.
Worry not, since implementation of the system can be painless. At my website, CentralLaw.com, and at my office we have been as paperless as possible for the past five years. Paperless technology makes storage, distribution, and duplication of case materials quick and easy. Remote access via the Internet allows effortless investigation and review of case files without a trip to the Clerk’s office. You will need Internet access, Software, a Power feed Scanner, and a little help.
Documents created in your word processing applications will be converted to Adobe Acrobat Documents and images, exhibits, and copies of documents will be fed to our favorite accessory, a power fed scanner where they too can be automatically batch converted to Adobe Acrobat format for transmission electronically to our friends at the clerk’s office.
One side benefit of the new filing requirement is convenience. Once implemented, case documents can be scanned and then retrieved remotely from across the hall or across the country. During one recent document-intensive case, members of our litigation team had compact discs containing most of the pleadings, documents, photos, sound and video recordings that were used in the matter. Everyone on our team had full access to almost all of the case documentation. No more schlepping banker’s boxes.
The system has been thoroughly tested to address security concerns. Electronic signatures will be applied to court filings and will be authenticated by usernames and passwords issued by the Clerk’s office. The National Security Agency, our nation’s cyber security agency has evaluated the system. Not a single filing has been hacked or cracked. This technology does not improve either the content or strengthen arguments that users will still place in the Court’s electronic case files.