The Illinois courts have been moving towards e-filing – albeit slowly. The original date of January 1st, 2018 was pushed back after Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, Dorothy Brown, and Chief Judge, Tim Evans, filed a joint request to push back the start date a full year. They were granted six months and as of this Sunday, July 1st, the six month extension will have come to a close.
Which means when you come into work on Monday morning, e-filing will be mandatory.
I had the chance to attend a seminar on how to avoid the pitfalls of e-filing back in the winter of 2017, and while I am not an expert on this yet, I collected some quick tips & links for those out there plunging into this sometimes-daunting task.
First let’s start with the good news: Not everything will need to be e-filed.
Below are the four (4) exceptions:
- Documents filed by an incarcerated self-represented litigant in jail or correctional facility
- Documents under the Juvenile Court Acts of 1987; and
- Document in a specific case by court order
If you didn’t catch a lucky break Monday morning, and your documents do not fall under these exceptions, then you will need to create a username and password on the Illinois e-filing site to get started.
The next step will be to upload a PDF version of your document onto the site.
The size of the document you can upload varies by county and site, so first check with the clerk’s office for size requirements. If your document is too large, don’t fret! You can compress it using this free site.
It is important to have a standard naming convention when e-filing as this helps keep you and the courts organized.
Example: Type-> Description-> Client -> Date
MOT-Extension of Time- Rabiela -091417.doc
LTR-to client re status hearing-Munoz-052317.pdf
Want to make your life easy? There are several service providers that can assist with the e-file process. Attorneys are not required to use a service provider, but there are fees associated with add-on services.
There are strict guidelines on this mandatory process, and by no means is this all you need to know about e-filing. For a more in-depth look at e-filing, visit the Illinois courts site. If you are an Amata member, you can always ask our on-staff paralegals for assistance. Just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diana Garcia, Paralegal with Amata Office Solutions
She began with the company in 2010 as a Client Consultant and moved up to Paralegal in 2016 after attending DePaul University’s Paralegal Studies Certificate Program. In addition to being a Paralegal, Diana is fluent in Spanish and hold a BA in Public Relations also from DePaul University.