Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ten (10) Thoughts after Two (2) Hours of Kentucky E-Filing Training

As regular readers will know, e-filing has been a common topic here. (And unfortunately, many times the only topic.)

On Wednesday, I attended a two-hour training hosted by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in Frankfort, Kentucky. This training will be required for all attorneys to use the new e-filing system as it is implemented statewide before the end of 2015.

(For a list of training dates/sites and to register, go here: http://kyefiling.eventbrite.com)

Here are the main points I took away from the session:

  1. E-filing + CourtNet 2.0.  Once you go through the training, you will see why attorneys are now having to pay a monthly fee to access cases through CourtNet 2.0 (and why that service came ahead of the e-filing project). While there is no additional monthly charge for e-filing (and there is an option for a free e-filer account with no CourtNet 2.0 access to other cases in which you are not an e-filer), the Kentucky system has a similar layout to the new case filing system and attorneys will use the services hand-in-hand.
  2. Filing new cases just got easier. In the e-filing system, there are two main options: file a subsequent pleading (i.e. motion in a case that is already active) or file a new case. The system appears to streamline the process of digitizing the filing of a new action, as all that may be required is the uploading of the complaint and checking a box for the method of service. After entering payment information (which would include the appropriate service fees along with a convenience fee of what appears at this time to be $6.00), the clerk's office is notified for the summons to be generated and service to be effectuated.
  3. Better than ECF/Pacer? Federal courts have been using e-filing for years and years. The Kentucky version, however, looks much more modern, and allows you to return to modify a pending filing as opposed to having to complete everything in one session. So you can start a filing, go to lunch, and come back and finish it that afternoon.
  4. Get used to the term "Envelope".  Everything you do in the online filing system is structured around the concept of an Envelope. So if you are preparing to file a motion, and want to add exhibits, the workflow you start will be given an Envelope # which creates the "package" that is eventually sent to the court and other parties.
  5. Not mandatory (yet). While the training is required to e-file, the project is still technically in a pilot phase and even by the end of 2015 you will not have to file documents electronically. Furthermore, pro se litigants are not eligible at this time to file electronically and particularly in courts where people represent themselves (forcible detainer, small claims, family court, etc.), it appears paper filing will still be around for some time.
  6. What's with Word? One of the biggest caveats that will likely cause problems for users is a very technical one. In the system, a requirement exists to submit a Word version of a proposed order in addition to a PDF version. The newest version of the Word document format (.docx), however, is not accepted. Therefore, lawyers and their staff will have to save documents in the old ".doc" format (which was used in Word 1997-2003) to be compatible with the e-filing system. 
  7. Courtesy notices to clients. One nice feature is the ability to send a blind copy of a document being filed through the system to a client or other third party. This should help attorneys without case management software which may otherwise automate this process to keep their clients updated on the status of case filings without much effort.
  8. Circuit Clerks. After you file a document electronically, it will then be sent to the clerk's office for processing. Somewhat similar to federal court, the clerk's can make minor adjustments (typographical errors, correct the type of filing if it was entered incorrectly, etc.), or the clerk can respond with an electronic notice about corrective steps for the filer to take before the document will be processed. (And in a somewhat ironic twist in this apparent systematic effort to go paperless, all documents that are e-filed will still be printed out by the clerk's office on the backend for the foreseeable future.)
  9. Read the rules. The Kentucky Supreme Court has entered an Order which controls how this new process will work, and as always that Order controls over anything else that you may hear or read (including this post), so go grab the PDF: http://courts.ky.gov/courts/supreme/Rules_Procedures/201409.pdf
  10. Jurisdiction rules don't change. And finally, remember that technical glitches in the system will not excuse late filings (and documents are deemed "filed" as of the date the system accepts them, not when the clerk processes them). So if you wait until 11:58pm on the day that your Rule 59 motion is due, and the electronic filing system is down for maintenance or just down, then don't expect special treatment by the Court. For this reason, we will all probably still be clocking and dropping paper at the courthouse for years to come.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

E-Filing Ramping up in Kentuckiana

While federal courts have been filing documents electronically for years, neither Kentucky or Indiana state courts have implemented the technology - yet.

On Thursday, the Indiana Supreme Court announced that e-filing is coming soon.

This follows a pilot project in Frankfort to allow some civil cases to be e-filed in a Kentucky state court.

It appears both states are on track to implement the technology by the end of next year. Fees have not been announced, although Kentucky attorneys are already paying to use the new CourtNet 2.0 system. Most Indiana state court dockets can be viewed online for free at mycase.in.gov.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Podcast with a Purpose: Let's Start a Law Firm

Two of my attorney colleagues in Louisville have started a podcast that should be helpful not only to lawyers, but also those that are looking to start a new business.

Thanks to Ben Carter, who practices consumer law, and Annie O'Connell, who practices criminal defense.

Check it out here: http://bencarterlaw.com/letsstartalawfirm/

Friday, August 2, 2013

Android for Lawyers - The Droid Lawyer

Thanks to The Droid Lawyer for the mention on his Weekly News Round-Up regarding the recently-released Google Nexus 7 tablet.

Check out his recent post on Google's Chromecast for Lawyers, and be sure to stay current with his blog which is one of the best for attorneys (and, for that matter, anyone) using Android devices.

Follow Jeffrey Taylor on Twitter (@jeffrey_taylor) or on Google +.




Wednesday, July 31, 2013

R.I.P. Ross - Legal Technology World Loses a Titan

Just after his 52nd birthday, Ross Kodner suffered a fatal heart attack yesterday.

Mr. Kodner was arguably the father of legal technology, having founded MicroLaw over two (2) decades ago, essentially before there was an intersection between law and technology.

He was an excellent CLE presenter and will be sorely missed in the legal tech community on a national and international scale.

Be sure to browse some of the excellent tribute articles and blog posts that are circulating.



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Straight Off the Staples Shelf: The New Google Nexus 7 Tablet - An Attorney's Review

Google held a breakfast event this past Wednesday morning.  While these events do not have the fanfare of product announcements from Apple, some important products were introduced.

One such product was Chromecast, which is a potential Apple TV competitor.  Many attorneys have began using the iPhone / iPad / Apple TV combo to present videos and presentations at trial, mediation, and the like.  Google's new product will not be an immediate replacement for that setup as its initial focus is entertainment-based (YouTube, etc.), but its price at $35 and huge consumer demand so far make it a product to keep an eye on.

The more expected product announcement was the new Google Nexus 7 tablet.



Last year, I experimented with the first version of the Nexus 7 tablet (which is made by Asus).  I was impressed with the slim form factor compared to the regular-sized iPad, which can be a bit unwieldy to use in certain settings, such as extended reading of e-books or deposition PDFs.

However, I was still a heavy drinker of the Apple kool aid, and probably did not give the Android operating system (OS) a fair chance.  The selection of apps in the Google Play Store (and particularly the lack of legal-related software) and my resistance to learning the more intricate user interface led me back to my mobile Apple devices.

Earlier this year, I transitioned from the iPhone 5 to the HTC One.  One of my law partners, aware of my long-standing addiction to my MacBook Air and other Apple products, mentioned that Steve Jobs must be turning over in his grave if loyal customers such as myself were willing to venture into this uncharted territory.

After attending the ABA Techshow in Chicago during the spring, the primary reason for the switch was the larger screen size on the Droid devices that the majority of the crowd seemed to be using.

I have no regrets.  The larger screen makes a huge difference on a day-to-day basis running from court to client meetings, and you cannot truly appreciate the flexibility of the Android OS until you take some time to experiment.  When I pick up my wife's iPhone now, my eyes squint and I feel restricted.

One minor frustration with the phone is the inconsistent update schedule in the Android world.  When Apple puts out a new version of iOS, then most (if not all) devices are privy to the new software at the same time.  My HTC One is still running Android 4.1.2, which is almost a year old.  And although Google (and HTC) have released new versions since then, the wonderful AT&T controls when (and if) I will receive updates.

Enter one of the benefits of purchasing "official" Google Nexus products.  The new Nexus tablet is the first device to come preloaded with Android 4.3, which is a minor update to the Jelly Bean version of Google's mobile operating system (OS).

One of the best new features of 4.3 (which is still lacking from iOS) is the ability to set up multi-user profiles on the tablet.  My wife and I can each have separate spaces, including our own personal homescreens and apps.

Another potential use in our law office is the ability for clients to use the tablet for intake questions.  We can now manage access and show content to create an experience that is appropriate for potential or existing clients.

This version of the tablet is slimmer and lighter, and even more delightful to hold than last year's version.

The 7" screen puts my iPad 2 to shame.  Google touts the new screen as the world's highest-resolution 7" tablet, which is a major upgrade over the previous version of the tablet that could not display 1080p HD.

I am also able to listen to deposition videos more comfortably, as the tablet features dual stereo speakers and surround sound by the inventors of the MP3 file that seem more powerful than before.

The new tablet features 2GB of RAM and features a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor.  It is snappy and efficient, and swiping from screen to screen or app to app is a joy.  One complaint I have heard from past Android users is that the system can be buggy and get bogged down over time, but that has not been my experience thus far with either the HTC One or the new Nexus 7.

The 16GB version I purchased does not have built-in LTE, although a 32GB version will.  This is where I plan to pay back AT&T for some of my other frustrations, by simply using my HTC One as a hotspot and sharing my data plan amongst all of my mobile devices.

----------

The best part of this story for me may be that not only did I never expect to write a review of this product this early (Google officially lists the ship date as 2 days from now on July 30), but I did not expect to own this product at all.

Browsing the local Staples store I noticed a demo unit that had just been placed on the shelf. Fortunately (for me) my wife was in the store next door, and one thing led to another.  They had 2 units left in the store, and I was able to convince the manager to apply the $30 Staples tablet coupon to the new device.  (Although the fine print of the coupon applies to "all" tablets and does not seem to exclude the new Nexus 7, Staples corporate is directing local stores to not apply the coupon given its official release date after the expiration of the coupon and, presumably, the initial sellout of the device).

The coupon expires today, so click here for more info, and good luck if you go with the new Nexus 7.






About Me

My Photo

Licensed to practice law in all state courts in Kentucky and Indiana, and federal courts in Kentucky and southern Indiana.  

Offices in downtown Louisville and southern Indiana.  

Experience in Jefferson, Oldham, Bullitt, Nelson, Shelby, Spencer, and other counties in Kentucky; Clark, Floyd, Harrison, Washington, Jefferson, and Scott counties in Indiana. 

Practiced focused on helping individuals and families through some of their most difficult times.  Experience and skill in family law and domestic litigation, including divorce, custody, child support, maintenance (alimony), domestic violence (EPO / DVO) and complex property division cases.  

Estate planning and probate practice, which includes prenuptial agreements, wills, trusts, power of attorneys, and living wills (health care surrogate).  

Share It