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.