Electronic filing became mandatory for nearly all civil cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County at midnight on July 1, one minute after the old “OLIS” eFiling system was removed from the Clerk’s website.
Under the new eFileIL system, which also became officially operational in Cook County at midnight, filers choose their own portal—or eFiling service provider (EFSP)—they can use to file civil cases in any compatible court across Illinois.
In each of these EFSPs, the eFiling workflow for Cook County is somewhat different than for other Illinois counties. To minimize rejected filings, the Clerk’s office has developed a resource guide for Cook County eFiling and posted a special instructions for filers on its website.
Have all Cook County court filing features been activated?
According to Tyler Technologies spokesperson Zephrin Allen, all intended features of the eFileIL system have been activated in Cook County. Recent key additions include:
[wpb-faa icon=”fa-search” size=”26″ color=”#3f3f3f”] Case lookup
Filers can now search Cook County’s database of existing cases and make a subsequent filing.
[wpb-faa icon=”fa-gavel” size=”26″ color=”#444444″] Hearing scheduling
Filers can now use a calendar picker to select available hearing dates where applicable.
[wpb-faa icon=”fa-reply” size=”26″ color=”#444444″] Return date scheduling
Filers can now use a calendar picker to select a return date for new pleadings.
In late June, Tyler Technologies enabled these features by linking the case information in the Clerk’s office computers to the statewide eFileIL system, so it could be accessed by the certified EFSPs.
However, Allen also cautioned that there may still be some issues to work through in the early days of mandatory eFiling. For example, Cook County’s special eFiling instructions note that case numbers must be entered differently than in the previous OLIS system to return results, and scheduling motions involves some use of manual codes.
Because some of these wrinkles may be confusing, particularly to first-time filers, One Legal’s Concierge team will be stepping in to handle case initiations at no additional cost during the first few days of mandatory eFiling in Cook County.
Are there any exceptions to mandatory eFiling for civil cases in Cook County?
Yes. Original wills in Probate will still be filed in paper, in person. Also, individual filers may apply for a “good cause” exemption to the electronic filing requirement.
Click here to view the full list of Illinois eFiling exemptions.
How do I eFile in Cook County courts?
First, we highly recommend reading the eFiling instructions document provided by the Clerk’s office.
Second, pick an eFiling service provider. While many are aware of the state-subsidized Odyssey eFileIL portal–which does not charge a per-filing service fee but may involve high payment processing fees–there are currently 12 other portals to choose from.
These “paid” EFSPs, which charge a small flat fee to cover their support and development costs, typically offer higher quality support and time-saving capabilities for organizations that file frequently, helping to lower their overall eFiling costs.
Since EFSPs don’t force filers to choose subscription plans, you can try several simultaneously relatively easily. When law firms create an account, One Legal waives its per-filing fee for the first 30 days so users can freely test it against other EFSPs.
[Editor’s note: Since the publication of this article, One Legal has eliminated its per-filing fee entirely.]
Stay informed about Cook County eFiling
One Legal will continue to offer eFiling education events and cover updates to Cook County eFiling processes on our Illinois blog as they happen. We’ll also deliver answers to the most-asked Cook County eFiling questions as we receive official word from Clerk Brown’s office.
Attend an Illinois eFiling training webinar or our July 12 Cook County eFiling social in downtown Chicago, or reach out with any questions about the transition and how One Legal can help your firm.