The Austin County Herald reports that eight counties in Minnesota are going paperless as a part of the eCourtMN initiative.
According to the Herald, all Minnesota counties will be required to go paperless in the next five years. The counties which are reported as going paperless include:
*Ramsey and Hennepin counties have already been operating a pilot project that allows for the voluntary e-filing of civil cases.
The article also quoted 3rd Judicial District Judge Donald Rysavy as stating that it will take a minimum of two to three years for courts to eliminate stored paper in favor of online documents.
I like this news. I think it will lower costs to both the courts and practicing lawyers. As an Apple Valley lawyer who also runs a solo law practice, I appreciate anything that has an affect on my bottom-line. Furthermore, as you can probably tell by my running a blog, I’m tech-savvy enough to be able to figure out things like online filing. Federal courts have required e-filing for a number of years, as well as some administrative courts where I have practiced. The process does take some getting used to, but I like the ability to instantly access documents rather than having to make a special trip to the courthouse.
Another interesting issue is that courts appear to feel that documents stored on a server or in “the cloud” are safe enough for use by lawyers, judges, and law enforcement. That is quite a change in thinking from many of the articles I was reading ten years ago about the electronic storage of legal documents.
See Pilot counties eye paperless courts, The Daily Herald, March 24, 2012.