When Will Appellate Courts Catch Up on E-Filing?

By January 3, 2007February 10th, 2020Technology

Since opening my practice, I have tried to take advantage of technology whenever possible. One of the best developments has been the advent of electronic court filing. Sitting at my desk, I can e-file a document for less than what it would cost to have a hard copy delivered to the Travis County Courthouse a few blocks away. This is a powerful tool for fairly computer-literate practitioners looking to streamline their office procedures and capitalize on new technology as a means of becoming more efficient.

I recently filed an appeal from a Dallas County judgment using my e-filing service, which provides near-immediate electronic confirmation that the clerk has received and accepted the filing. In the old days, I would have sent the initial appeal papers by regular or overnight mail and waited a few days before receiving a file-stamped copy as confirmation. As with other forms of technology, e-filing is helping to break down geographic barriers in the practice of law.

Unfortunately, both federal and state appellate courts have been slow to meet this trend. While they have developed very helpful web sites that make orders and opinions available online and through e-mail notification, parties cannot yet file appellate briefs electronically. The Texas Supreme Court has made strides by posting briefs and oral arguments on its site. More work is needed to make e-filing in appellate courts a reality.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Todd Smith says:

    Michael Dodson posted this comment to a similar post on one of my other blogs:
    Until taking a sabbatical to get my master’s degree I practiced a bit in federal district courts that have mandatory electronic filing. Electronic filing via PDF files has been a great convenience for me personally. PDF creation is even built into the Mac OS. There is a downside, however, for small firm practitioners who are not educated in the ways of browsers, Acrobat files, and DSL connections. They have a painfully long learning curve ahaead.

  • […] Following up on this post, about 300 Texas lawyers have petitioned the Court of Criminal Appeals to adopt a rule permitting the e-filing of petitions, motions, and other documents in death penalty cases. (UPDATE: Per this news report, the CCA has agreed to allow e-mail filingfor emergency motions in death penalty cases and other “extraordinary matters.) […]