Electronic Filing (E-Filing) is the method by which attorneys can file with the court by submitting their documents online as opposed to in person at the courthouse’s filing window. E-Filing makes litigation easier for both attorneys and the courts, which is why it has been quickly adopted by 27 California Superior Courts and counting.
The availability of E-Filing will depend on the court itself. There are certain state courts that have transitioned to E-File only, such as Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego. Additionally, a small number of California courts have created their own E-Filing platforms, such as Imperial County. To file documents at courts that have their own system, you will need to create an account with the court itself and follow their instructions.
For most courts however, you will need to E-File through a court-approved Electronic Filing Service Provider. Accordingly, the first step to E-Filing with these courts is to find an attorney service provider that is also a certified E-Filing Service Provider. Once you have created an account with your chosen provider, you will be able to E-File with the court at your own convenience.
E-Filing offers litigators several advantages when compared to traditional physical filing, the first of which is later deadlines. Typically, deadlines for same-day court filing orders will range anywhere from 12:00 to 2:00 PM (depending on the size of the filing and location of the court). This is because litigation support providers must factor the time it will take their runners to print and deliver the documents before the court closes for the day. With E-Filing, anything uploaded before 11:59 PM is considered as filed on that day.
While extended deadlines are certainly a boon for litigators, the biggest benefit that comes with switching to E-Filing is the savings. By cutting out the need for runners entirely, litigators can file documents with the court for a fraction of the cost they have traditionally paid. Considering the simple but substantial benefits it offers to firms, one can only hope that every California Superior Court will have implemented E-Filing sooner rather than later.