As promised, Between the Lines is starting 2021 off with a deeper dive into e-filing. This week’s post involves a closer look at the basics of e-filing with ABC Legal Services, and how it provides reliable e-filing solutions for legal professionals or anyone else needing to file legal documents. As with all its services, ABC Legal focuses on finding ways to use technology to provide its clients with the transparency, accuracy and speed necessary to e-file their documents better and faster than the competition.
ABC Legal as an E-filing Provider
Also known as electronic court filing (ECF), e-filing is the electronic submission of court documents. It is the digital counterpart to standard court filing and offers several key advantages over paper filing, including increased speed and accuracy and reduced space and resource requirements.
That said, the independence of the courts, and their ability to control the operational standards within their jurisdiction has led to a staggered adoption of e-filing. Each court system determines if e-filing is an option or a requirement, as well as which document types may be filed electronically. In turn, each Electronic Filing Manager (EFM) can have different requirements and restrictions around the files that go into the system and how they get there. Electronic Filing Service Providers (EFSPs), such as ABC Legal, specialize in interfacing with EFMs and serving as intermediaries between legal firms and the courts.
ABC Legal is a growing provider of e-filing services—constantly exploring and expanding connections with e-filing systems. Currently working in 23 states, including Florida, Texas and California, the e-filing team is familiar with more than 13 separate filing platforms, such as Tylerhost (Odyssey) and TurboCourt. ABC Legal Services is expanding its client partnerships and has entered new e-filing venues with relative ease—handling e-filing with speed, accuracy, transparency, and scalable expertise.
Technology to Optimize Speed and Accuracy
Filing documents is a vital part of the legal process and often leads legal initiatives. As such, it’s one of the last places anyone wants to see a delay. E-filing is inherently digital and technological, so having the best possible technology in place to make connections between the data and the court system is critical.
API integrations are one way to reduce processing time and potential human error. An API is a connection and translation point for data, routing information from one system into another correctly. With API connections, select data points can flow between systems instead of needing manual selection and input from a person. ABC Legal is proud to have API integrations in several key states, such as Florida and Texas, as well as to select filing portals, such as Tylerhost.
In states and systems where API isn’t yet an option, ABC Legal has created internal automation tools to speed up processing. These bots assist with data transference between ABC Legal’s system and the court systems, minimizing human input while allowing for an e-filing specialist to have oversight on the process ensuring final accuracy of the input. Whether through a direct API connection or through the use of internal automation tools, ABC Legal’s e-filings are optimized to get documents to the courts as accurately and as quickly as possible.
Scalable Solutions to Accommodate Any Caseload
When legal firms have an irregular number of e-filing cases each month or suddenly find themselves overwhelmed with e-filing cases, having an external resource simplifies logistics greatly. Using an EFSP such as ABC Legal allows legal firms to handle changing file volumes without affecting their headcount. ABC Legal’s e-filing team has the bandwidth to keep a firm’s files heading out consistently, without being overwhelmed. ABC Legal Services has expanded its e-filing offering from five to twenty-two states in the past few years and has expanded its e-filing team to match. The team has the drive and the capacity to handle any number of cases a client may throw their way, from one-off e-filings to high-volume deluges of cases in a single month.
In addition to providing flexibility in handling changing or excessive volumes of e-filing work, ABC Legal provides a high level of expertise to ensure that electronic filing is done accurately. Since 2020, the number of cases filed in the U.S. has grown more than 10%, with more than 17,0000 e-filings in Texas alone in December 2020, and with an expert e-filing team, ABC Legal is ready to handle the caseload.
Expertise Ensures Compliance
With a range of services in addition to e-filing, ABC Legal is accustomed to evaluating court and state requirements to ensure that documents meet or exceed what is needed for them to move forward in the legal process. One of the most time-consuming tasks of the e-filing team is the research and documentation of the current standards and regulations around electronically filed documents. The team is constantly on the lookout for changes to regulations that affect how documents need to be filed at the court system, e-filing system and venue levels. Depending on the change, the team adjusts their processes or will inform firms of the changes to help implement them at scale—keeping legal teams abreast of the changes that affect their filings.
Each member of the e-filing team is trained and evaluated to ensure compliance with both internal and court standards, providing an added layer of document audit and review. The e-filing team looks for common errors and missing information that would otherwise prevent submissions from being accepted and fixing issues before they cause an undue delay, keeping a legal team from being dragged down by the burden of researching and managing misfiles.
Peace of Mind with Complete Access
ABC Legal provides its clients with unparalleled accessibility to case information via an online dashboard that provides real-time status updates on every job. The proprietary interface allows users access to high-level information, as well as the opportunity to deep-dive into the details of exactly what is happening with a file at that moment. The dashboard is a one-stop-shop where customers can view statuses and case information, pull reports, make payments, and submit questions to customer support. The information is organized and available 24/7.
Bundle E-filing with Other Services
At the core of all its operations is a dedication to speed, accuracy, transparency and compliance. In addition to cutting-edge e-filing, ABC Legal specializes in legal services for civil suits including service of process, venue selection and skip-tracing, creating a seamless process where ABC Legal files a document with the court and then serves the documents to the defendant.
Many clients also combine initiatives to enjoy enhanced service, such as technology from venue selection which is already used in key districts to enhance e-filing compliance. The service of venue selection can be used to check ahead to ensure that documents are being filed with the right court before the documents are even created. Each of the services appears in the customer dashboard, allowing legal firms to assess and investigate each case as well its start-to-finish status. Busy attorneys and paralegals find that checking only one dashboard for filing and service of process is a welcome relief from the scattershot approach they’ve reluctantly gotten used to.
E-file with ABC Legal Today
File more cases than you could ever file alone, using an expert team that will ensure documents are e-filed quickly and accurately so legal cases can move forward. Current customers can contact account management or customer support to place an e-filing order today. To learn more about e-filing and the other services offered at ABC Legal, and to find the right combination to meet your legal services needs, request a demo with one of our sales representatives.
About ABC Legal Services
ABC Legal is the nation’s leading service of process and court filing company and is the official process server to the U.S. Department of Justice. Docketly is a subsidiary of ABC Legal, providing appearance counsel on a digital, custom-built platform that smoothly integrates with our applications and services. ABC Legal’s applications are cloud-based and compatible for use on desktop, browser, and smartphones. Our solutions and digital approach ensure process server partners, law firm customers, and their clients save valuable time and resources when serving legal notices safely and with maximum compliance, control, and transparency. ABC Legal is based in Seattle, WA, with more than 2,000 process servers throughout the U.S., as well as internationally in more than 75 countries. To learn more about ABC Legal, our solutions, and subsidiary company Docketly, visit www.abclegal.com.
Written byHeather Thomas