You may have heard of the term “paperless office,” where documents are stored on networks and hard drives rather than in physical drawers and filing cabinets. The advantages of the paperless office over traditional means of storing documents include the following: money is saved on paper and postage; space is saved from bulky file cabinets; trees are saved from being cut down; and time is saved by quick transmittal of documents via e-mail. This usually also translates to savings for the customer or client.
Well, the Florida Courts have set their sights on a paperless court system. This starts out with e-filing (the filing of documents via the internet rather than dropping off paper copies). e-Filing began through Florida’s e-Filing Portal in January 2012, and the clerks of the Court have set a goal to have all counties accepting e-filing for their civil (non-criminal) divisions through the Portal by July 1, 2012.
Many counties have been quick to implement e-filing through the Portal. In fact, according to a presentation provided at the February 1, 2012, e-Filing Authority Board Meeting, 41 counties now accept at least some filing electronically through the portal. Polk County is included in these counties, though it does not yet accept e-filing for family law cases.
Five other counties have an e-filing system connected to the Portal, though are still in the process of fully integrating their systems. These counties include Manatee County, Sarasota County, and Pasco County (at the date of the report, Pasco County was only accepting probate matters through their system).
So, you have 46 counties who have e-filing through some method and are a least tangentially connected to the Portal. Unfortunately, many of our other local counties are woefully slow when it comes to implementing e-filing through the Portal, including the following: Hernando County, Hillsborough County, and Pinellas County. These counties are “currently working” on it.
Hopefully, the local clerks of the court will speed up their pace so that we attorneys can save our clients time and money when it comes to standardized e-filing through the Portal.