Clerk Dorothy Brown joined a panel of Illinois certified eFiling service providers (EFSPs) Tuesday to answer questions about Cook County’s transition to mandatory eFiling—a process that must conclude by July 1 by order of the Illinois Supreme Court.
“It’s something that has been a long time coming,” Brown told a crowded room of Cook County eFilers at the University Club of Chicago, adding that the county was on track to be fully integrated with the statewide eFileIL platform by the end of May.
The Q&A, titled “Illinois eFiling: Where Do We Go From Here,” was moderated by Chicago Daily Law Bulletin editor Marc Karlinsky as the first episode in its new “Morning Lineup Live” series. I represented One Legal on the panel to share some of the things that make eFiling through us unique, as well as our plans to improve access to justice in Chicago by offering free eFiling and eService for qualifying nonprofits that do pro bono work.
Below are the most important new pieces of information we heard from the county.
Top eFiling updates from Clerk Dorothy Brown:
1. Cook County expects to finish integrating its case management system with eFileIL before the end of May. When this happens, currently inactive features like case lookup, motion scheduling, and return date scheduling should start working in all eFiling service providers.
2. Cook County will retire its old eFiling portal (OLIS) when eFiling becomes mandatory on July 1.
3. The county does not currently have any plans to enable direct ordering of service of process by sheriff (as required on a case initiation) via the eFileIL system, which means it will not be an available feature through any of the eFiling service providers at launch. This is one of the few features built into the old OLIS system that will not be carried over to the new system. However, Clerk Brown did not rule out the possibility of it becoming a future add-on feature.
4. Cook County will still permit hand-written motions and pleadings to be entered during court appearances. The Clerk’s staff will make sure these documents are properly scanned and eFiled.
5. Internally, Cook County plans to start using a new case management system built by Tyler Technologies, makers of the eFileIL system, “in early 2019.” No word yet if or how this might affect Cook County filers.
Choose an eFiling service provider
The top takeaway from the eFiling panel? Don’t wait until eFiling becomes mandatory to evaluate providers.
If Cook County sticks to its projections, law firms will have just over a month before July 1 to find the EFSP that is ideal for their office.
We’ve rounded up the top considerations to keep in mind when choosing an EFSP in Cook County. Think about what capabilities would be most helpful to your law office, and make some test filings over the next several weeks.
Since none of the EFSPs have contracts or long-term commitments to sign (although One Legal does include the first 30 days with no transaction fees), there’s no risk in seeing which solution best meets the needs of your firm.
Other eFiling service providers at the event echoed One Legal’s advice to filers: Don’t procrastinate.
Clerk Brown told attendees that her office will soon announce a seminar on Cook County’s new eFiling processes to be held Wednesday, June 18 at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. We’ll update you on this blog as soon as full information about the event becomes available.
Stay tuned, and happy eFiling.