Potential Court Costs of Implementing E-Filing and E-Serve
This is the fifth in a series that will discuss the potential costs involved in implementing eFiling and eService projects in the Court. (Special thanks to Dr. Mike Greenwood, who's experience with the development and implementation of the Federal ECF System, provides the background for insight into the real costs involved)
Major E-Filing Cost Elements
The following items are non-technological items required during both the start-up and post go-live timeframe.
4. Training: judges, court staff, bar, and public users
The development and production of comprehensive training materials typically takes 4-6 weeks of two trainers. Several e-filing general orientation seminars are strongly recommended to familiarize legal and court community as to the policies, practices, and objectives of the new service. Seminar typically includes a demonstration of the service. Seminars usually accomplished a few months and weeks before service becomes operational if possible in conjunction with bar association meetings. Costs are nominal.
The in-house training for court personnel & lawyers is substantial and time-consuming usually requires court staff resources for several years. Also requires a training facility with sufficient computer terminals, servers, network, and separate training database. Typically 2-3 hours of formal training per person including detailed demonstrations, training manuals, and, if possible, “hands-on” use are needed to adequately review all aspects of e-docketing, e-filing, e-service, and electronic case information access Class size normally should be 10-25 trainees with 1-2 trainers. Separate training session for each judge and personal chambers staff is strongly recommended. Smaller training groups (5-10) are recommended when training deputy clerks and other court administrative personnel. Both lawyers and paralegal staffs who anticipate using the service should attend sessions. In addition, many courts require a proficiency examination be completed demonstrating reasonable user skills before issuing identifications into “live” system. In metropolitan areas with medium and large law firms, some courts offer on-site training at the law firm’s offices for attorneys, paralegals. Some court travel expenses should be budgeted.
Expenditures must be anticipated for:
- development of training materials, user’s guides
- orientation seminars: bar and public
- in-house training: for court personnel & lawyers
- on-site law firm training: for attorneys, paralegals
The Public-Private Option could reduce court training costs 75% or more. Also, it is important to note that training of the attorney/filers particularly is an ongoing process because of continuous additions to that group.