Preparing for Illinois eFiling at your firm

Ready or not, eFiling on the statewide eFileIL system is about to be the only way to file legal documents in Illinois courts.

That means several major circuit courts with a different eFiling system already in place—including Cook, Will, DuPage and Lake County—will be required to switch to eFileIL, a platform for which law firms and pro se litigants must choose a preferred electronic filing service provider.

Confused? You’re not alone.

That’s why we’ve created an Illinois eFiling readiness kit for 2018. It’s a packed with information that law firms will need to know to continue submitting documents to any Illinois court.

Why did this change come about?

Way back in 2002, the Illinois Supreme Court approved a 10-year pilot program to test online filing. Filing electronically was a way to sidestep many of the administrative and delivery costs associated with using paper documents for civil proceedings, and created a more direct line between filers and the court.

But by January 2016, only 15 of Illinois’ 102 counties had requested and been granted approval for an eFiling system. Recognizing that competing systems in different counties had become a major barrier to technology adoption in the state courts, the Illinois Supreme Court ordered the entire state to standardize on a new system being rolled out in the state supreme and appellate courts. By Jan. 1, 2018, all Illinois courts were to make eFiling mandatory, using a court-side electronic filing manager (EFM) called Odyssey eFileIL.

What do I have to do to file on the new eFileIL system?

As soon as your court makes eFileIL available, choose from this list of certified Illinois eFiling service providers.

Since most providers charge only when a filing is made, you can register accounts with a few of them and see which features you like best. (For eFiling and eService orders, One Legal doesn’t charge you fees for the first 30 days—you’ll only pay court fees.)

If you’ve ever complained about the outdated portal the county clerk’s website offers, now you can pick your own.

How will I know when my court switches to eFileIL?

One Legal is maintaining an updated list of Illinois counties’ progress in implementing the new system and covering the latest updates in the Illinois section of our blog.

In 91 of Illinois’ 102 counties, there is no prior system to phase out. After permitting but not requiring eFiling, these courts are scheduled to make eFiling mandatory on Jan. 1, 2018.

Things get trickier in counties where a previous eFiling system was already in use. This includes many Chicago-area circuit courts, including Cook, Will, DuPage and Lake counties. They’ve gotten extensions until July 1, 2018 to migrate all eFiling operations from their old technology to eFileIL and provide a permissive window where eFiling on the new system is possible, but not required.

Some of these counties have already provided target dates for when they expect to roll out eFileIL for testing, but not all are sharing this information on their website. For example, Cook County still only provides trainings and support materials for its old US Courts eFiling system, which may be obsolete in a matter of weeks.

When will eFiling be mandatory everywhere in Illinois?

July 1, 2018. Between now and then, thousands of Illinois law firms will have to find a service provider that matches their filing and serving needs and train staff on how to use it. To minimize rejected filings, they’ll also need to learn the formatting requirements of whichever court(s) they’re filing into.

Prepare for Illinois eFiling with the readiness kit

For a comprehensive guide to bringing your law firm up to speed with the state’s new eFiling requirements, download our comprehensive 2018 Illinois eFiling Readiness Kit below. It covers:

  • An introduction to eFiling and eService in Illinois
  • Essential office technology
  • Coaching up your team on the new system
  • Preparing documents for Illinois courts
  • State laws, standards, and fees
  • Training materials

… and more.

Download Illinois kit

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About the Author

Alex Braun is One Legal’s marketing campaign manager for the Midwest. He enjoys cycling and amateur filmmaking and lives in Chicago (even during the winter).

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