How Rapid Legal Has Stayed At The Forefront of eFiling and eService Developments
The deep connection that Rapid Legal has to the adoption of technology to drive improvement in the legal support services standards and practices makes it only natural that Rapid Legal would have a vested interest in not just understanding eFiling and eService but also leveraging its technology expertise to take advantage of such trends as they emerge. With eFiling and eService going from being a dream in the early 2000s to the rapidly expanding standard that it is today, it’s quite fitting that Rapid Legal has been there every step of the way.
In the Beginning
eFiling certainly feels like it sprung up overnight in California, especially as some of the biggest legal jurisdictions in the state are wasting no time in adopting or expanding their programs. Los Angeles County, for example, is very aggressively pursuing eFiling and eService options to streamline and modernize their court document filing systems as well as expanding the case types to incorporate into the eFiling umbrella.
The truth is, eFiling has been around, in some form or another, for the better part of two decades. The push began in the early 2000s in California, as the state, often at the forefront of leveraging technology to improve the courts efficiency, began using eFiling in certain complex cases at this time. Then, in 2006, Contra Costa County began a pilot project for one judge to test the waters. After the door was open with this project, it was only natural for other counties to follow suit. In 2009, Orange County took some serious steps by offering permissive eFiling for civil cases.
An Eye to the Future
Meanwhile, the Rapid Legal’s leadership constantly met to discuss how these technology advances would affect Rapid Legal and the legal industry. In the summer of 2012, Rapid Legal’s product and engineering teams started to design and build an eFiling Portal for its customers to eFile documents where permitted. In January of 2013, Orange County became Rapid Legal’s first eFiling Court.
The Stars Align
In 2016, seeing the success of Orange County’s eFiling program, other courts began looking into introducing eFiling. By the end of 2016, 12 additional California courts went live with eFiling in some capacity.
At this point in time, there would be no turning back: eFiling — and eService — had become established as standard operating procedures and Rapid Legal’s product and engineering teams were busy gearing up to build more integrations with other Courts that were thinking of moving to eFiling and eService.
The Future Is Now
Late in 2016, the biggest change in California’s judicial system, with far reaching service, administration and technology implications was about to take place. Los Angeles Superior Court decided to create an eFiling pilot program of its own. Known as the e-Delivery project, the pilot program permitted documents to be sent electronically to a select number of court clerks through a custom portal provided by Journal Technologies, Inc, (JTI). These electronic documents were then printed and filed behind the scenes. After approximately a year of e-Delivery proving its effectiveness in general jurisdiction cases in specific courtrooms, the courts moved to institute an expanded version of the project as a more permanent solution and in May of 2017 probate eFiling went live in Los Angeles Superior Court.
With the project proving to be successful, LASC decided to roll this out to other case types. Beginning in 2017, Rapid Legal started working on an integration with LASC’s EFM vendor, JTI, to build an integration that would allow customers and legal professional to eFile in Los Angeles for civil cases. Final testing with JTI has been underway for the past few months, and the court has set a launch date for eFiling in civil cases to begin in November of 2018. This is, of course, a major milestone, but not one that Rapid Legal and its customers should be unprepared to handle, thanks to the foresight of Rapid Legal and its dedication to supporting the future of the legal services profession.