The U. S. District Court for the District of South Carolina is in the process of switching over to the new, electronic filing system. Unless excused by the court, all members of the District Bar must register as Filing Users by September 1, 2005. Registration involves filling out a form (available online at the Courts website: http://www.scd.uscourts.gov) and completing training in ECF (electronic case filing). Training may be obtained by completing the online Computer-Based Training Modules, the on-line ECF Tutorials, or attending a 2-hour classroom training session.
E-filing requires submitting documents to the court in PDF (portable document format). This means converting Word or WordPerfect documents to PDF before filing them with the court. Many later versions of Word and WordPerfect allow one to 'print' to PDF. This is one way to convert a document. Most lawyers are familiar with Adobe Acrobat Reader, which allows one to view PDF files. Acrobat Reader is a free software utility, but the full version of Acrobat is needed to create PDFs. Since Acrobat typically costs $250 and up for the full product (not the upgrade version), many lawyers are interested in alternative (cheaper) products. Fortunately, there are a number of software products that can convert documents to PDF. A list of some of these can be found here.
A letter from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina to all attorneys practicing before the Federal Bench regarding Electronic Case Filing.
ECF Attorney Registration Form
Download form from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina Web site.
U.S. Courts Case Management/ Electronic Case Files
U.S. Bankruptcy Court District of South Carolina
The Brave New World of E-Filing
By Jim Calloway, Director, OBA Management Assistance Program
A great article from the Oklahoma practice management guru. Be sure to see the list of alternative PDF software programs.
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