Utah District Court
CMECF Updates
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
  Large Document E - Filing Challenges
An attorney reported a frustrating experience filing a large document, with large exhibits, and subsequent investigation has revealed these inherent challenges will face other attorneys filing similar documents.

Attorney's Report:
My filing had eight exhibits (about 20-30 megs worth). It was quite cumbersome to break them down into files less than 2 megs. I ended up with 16 attachments (one exhibit was filed in 5 pieces). The attachment screen was so slow I thought it was not working at all until one of my exhibits finally attached while I was using another browser tab to look through the help materials. It felt like dial-up. The process of attaching the exhibits took about 30 minutes, and the whole process of preparing the exhibits, sizing them correctly, and going through the attachment process took over an hour. I'm afraid the resulting filing is a mess because the exhibits are so chopped up.

Court Analysis
The court staff investigated the report to find the reason for these unacceptably slow uploads. The investigation focused on document file size and upload speeds.
Document Size:
The document sizes were larger than necessary because some were scanned at a high resolution and some at a bit-depth greater than 1. Color and greyscale scanning, and 300 dpi resolution will increase PDF file size dramatically. The court printed two of the filed documents, rescanned them and converted them to PDF with much smaller file sizes.

Document______Lawyer's Scans______Court Scans
Item 4__________1.7 mb______________644 K
Item 13__________645 K ______________121 K

Recommendation: Review your scanner settings. Set to 1 bit depth and 200 dpi resolution. Tinker with those settings and compare the resulting file sizes.

Upload Speeds:
Court staff discovered that times for upload from outside the court are dramatically slow compared to in-courthouse filing times. The following summary for large documents shows that uploads inside the court are 10 times faster than uploads outside.

From inside Court Network to inside ECF server 1.9 MB doc - 5 sec - 3.8 mbps

From a CM/ECF Public Access Terminal in Courthouse 1.4 MB doc - 12 sec - 933 kbps

From inside Court Network to a different court's ECF server 1.9 MB doc - 41 secs - 370 kbps

From law firm with upload potential of 1.2 mbits/ps 1.7 MB doc - 48 sec - 283 kbps

From outside the court over Comcast connection with upload potential of 384 kbps
1.9 MB doc - 2 min 2 sec - 127 kbps 1.7 MB doc - 1 min 47 sec - 126 kbps

It appears that every intermediate switch and router exacts a toll on upload speed. The highest speed is available inside the court, with no barriers to between the court user and the server. The public terminal inside the court is behind a barrier, so its upload speed is second best but less than 25% of the speed available to the in court user, resulting in an upload time twice as long. Filing from inside the court to another court's CM/ECF server -- over the national court intranet -- reduces speeds further. Connections over the internet (law office and Comcast examples) have more intermediate routers and switches and lower upload speeds.

Recommendation: Reduce document sizes as much as possible. Upload during light traffic hours. Be patient if making a large filing.

Future alternatives may include making the public terminal available for attorney upload of documents or permitting counsel to bring a CD with data files, along with a paper copy, for filing by a docket clerk.
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