Utah District Court
Downtime Blip Friday February 17th
CM/ECF for the district was unavailable outside the courthouse from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday February 17th. Sprint, the outside connection provider, restored service after two hours. Filers calling the help desk were notified that the time sensitive documents could be paper filed until 5:00 p.m. and that the outside filing box is still available 24 hours per day. A similar event occured January 9th for 3 1/2 hours.
Attorney E Filings Increase
As the court continues toward the universal requirement that attorneys e-file documents, the percentage of e-filings by attorneys continues to increase.
From small beginnings in September, attorney e-filings have grown from under 7% of total filings to over 20% of total filings. As mentioned in the December 7, 2005 posting, "the overall percentage of 20 - 25% may represent full compliance with the mandatory e-filing requirement in criminal cases" because so many documents - warrants, returns, minute entries, judgments, etc., are court produced. In civil cases, it is anticipated that the potential percentage of attorney e-filings is higher, so we will watch future months' statistics with interest as e-filing becomes mandatory in all civil cases. (click on image for larger view)
Trainer Confabs Provide Valuable Feedback
On three consecutive Mondays in January, law firm CM/ECF trainers met at the court with court CM/ECF staff. The discussions provided valuable feedback to the trainers and to the court staff.A brief summary of topics:
- New Computer Based Training Modules are on the website.
- Administrative Procedures change often so check once a month to ensure you have the most recent version.
- Service and mailing list enhancements under Utilities and Mailing Info for a Case now provide a comma separated list of all the e-mail addresses on a case to copy and paste into an email.
- Cleaning the cache is important.
- Recommended scanner settings - black and white, 200-300 dpi.
- Proposed Orders are now accepted in Microsoft Word as well as WordPerfect format.
Each trainer was given a list of registered e-filers in their firm so they could see who they had trained who had completed registration.
Trainers' questions were answered, including the current status of CM not working on Blackberry devices.
Countdown to E-Filing Deadline
While e-filing is already required in criminal cases
and in civil cases
for firms with over 20 attorneys, there is still some time until all attorneys must e-file in all cases in the District of Utah. The District Court has added a countdown clock to its CM/ECF information page
now that we are less than 80 days away from universally required e-filing. The remaining future deadline
is the requirement that attorneys in firms with less than 20 attorneys e-file in civil cases.
Comparing Utah and Other District E-Filing
In December 2005, 17% of Utah District Court filings were e-filings direct by attorneys (or staff on their behalf)("non-court users").
At extremes, the following districts had over 40% of their documents e-filed by non-court users: Mississippi Southern, Delaware, Indiana Southern and Mississippi Northern. 23 districts had over 30% of their documents e-filed by non-court users. On the low end, 10 districts had smaller percentages of documents e-filed by non-court users than Utah. These courts included several which implemented e-filing before
the District of Utah.
Utah had 876 attorneys registered as e-filers, of whom 377 had filed. This percentage is similar to other districts with similar percentages of non-court user filing. The percentage of registrants who e-file increases as the percentage of e-filing by non-court users increases.
New Postings On Judge Nuffer's Internet Resources Site
A few new postings appear on Judge Nuffer's Internet Resources Site
:Useful Computer Skills in the CM/ECF Environment
- a document gathering dozens of tips about using Adobe Acrobat, Lotus Notes, and Word Perfect, along with CM/ECF. This document is intended for in court users, and is the basis of some internal court CLE, but is useful for any computer user.
A page of links to the Utah District Court CM/ECF resources
. This is one page with links to most of the court site resources for CM/ECF.
Information on creating citation hyperlinks. A description of the manual process in WordPerfect is provided in Useful Computer Skills in the CM/ECF Environment
. Links are available on Judge Nuffer's Internet Resources Site
to automated tools WestCiteLink
, part of LexisNexis Citation Tools 2003
Clear Your Cache -- and Keep It Clean
Experience in and out of the courthouse has shown that many CM/ECF technical problems are caused by a large "cache" in the user's internet browser. Clearing the cache and
setting your browser to clear the cache regularly will likely improve CM/ECF performance.
Helpful information on clearing the cache is on the following web sites:MicrosoftNetscape
Proposed Orders Now Accepted in Microsoft Word Format
All judges at the district court have signalled they are ready to accept proposed orders in Microsoft Word format. Over the past month, the court has purchased and installed copies of Microsoft Word in chambers, and in the last week of January, staff who desired Word training were trained in Microsoft Word.
The conflict between the court word processing preference for WordPerfect and the general legal community preference for Microsoft Word
has frustrated many lawyers and staff desiring to submit proposed orders to the court. Now, the court can accept proposed orders in Microsoft Word format.
A PDF copy of a proposed order still must be attached to any motion. The word processing format is designated only for proposed orders emailed to chambers. See Administrative Procedures
Trainers Continue to Contribute to CM/ECF Implementation
Law firm trainers are a vital part of the CM/ECF implementation strategy. 49 law firms have a total of 84 trainers. Of the 1200 attorneys registered in CM/ECF, over 700 have been trained by law firm trainers or trained in other districts. It is likely that these law firm trainers have trained nearly as many staff personnel, because court trainers have trained 434 attorneys and 410 staff members (including law firm trainers).
January Statistics Surge
Attorney filings and registrations surged in January. New registrations exceeded 300 as attorneys in large firms prepare for mandatory e-filing in civil cases.