The state of Indiana has been in the world of statewide electronic court filing for several months now. And many more courts are transitioning to permissive or mandatory eFiling in the final months of this year and first few months of next.
If you’ve been putting off eFiling in your law firm, you’ve been missing out on several benefits of digitally filing court documents.. But now you may also find yourself coming up against a deadline in your county.
Start using these formatting rules and best practices to optimize your legal documents. Whether you are ready to eFile or haven’t even been thinking about it, these tips can improve the readability of your documents while giving you a jumpstart on filing digital documents with the court.
Indiana Trial Court Rules do not specify a font style or size requirements for eFiled documents. However, the Appellate Court Rules list a variety of permitted fonts, including Arial, Baskerville, Georgia, Palatino, and more.
Certain fonts are better than others for digital documents. Based on our experience, One Legal recommends using Cambria, Georgia, or Helvetica fonts. Text should be no smaller than 12 pts. You can read more about how fonts and other typography can affect the information in your briefs.
Margins & spacing
Documents must have at least one-inch margins at the top of the page, and all the way around, if possible.
The Indiana Court Rules do not specify line spacing for eFiled documents. However, many other courts prefer line spacing that is at least 1.5 or double-spaced. One Legal recommends 1.5 line spacing in documents, as the text on a fully double-spaced page is too spread out and hard to follow.
Format & size
All eFiled documents must be submitted in PDF format. To make it easier for filers, One Legal’s filing system automatically converts all documents into PDFs before submitting them to the court. You can also convert the document to PDF yourself.
All documents prepared by your firm should be 8.5 x 11 and set in portrait orientation.
Each file must be no larger than 25 MB, and the entire order cannot surpass 35 MB. Check the size of each document, and make sure that it is within the size limitations, or make it smaller.
All confidential information must be redacted in accordance with usual court rules.
Remove personal information from court documents using tools like Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word to make sure that the data is truly gone. When working with digital documents, users must be sure to also remove all metadata, which could reveal personal information even after it has been redacted. Learn more.
All eFiled documents must be electronically bookmarked, connecting a Table of Contents to each section of the brief. Much like the colored tabs that were once added to paper filings, electronic bookmarks make it easier for readers to navigate your document. It is easy to add electronic bookmarks either in Microsoft Word while writing the document, or in Adobe Acrobat during the final editing.
Need some help? One Legal’s Email to File service can help you assemble your filing, add electronic bookmarks, and review for common issues.
All documents must have optical character recognition (OCR) applied to enable viewers to search for key terms. In order to better facilitate this text searchability, filers should create PDFs directly from the program used to write the document itself. These are called “text-based PDFs,” and result in a cleaner, more optimized document.
When you submit your document with One Legal, our eFiling platform automatically applies OCR, making each document text searchable before it reaches the court.
Scanned documents can sometimes be harder to make text searchable. If you had to scan a document before eFiling it, you might want to apply text searchability yourself, to ensure that none of the words are misattributed and important terms are still legible.
File names for eFiled documents must be no longer than 50 characters. Double check your document before you file, and read more about best practices for naming digital documents.
The way a document is formatted can affect how the document is received by the court and how it is perceived by the judge. Maximize the impact of your briefs and set up your formatting to meet all the best practices for legal documents.
It’s not too late to discover an easy-to-use, all-in-one solution for eFiling. Check out our other training resources for eFiling in Indiana.