Colorado to Accept Lawsuit Filings Via Web

Colorado, already a national leader in integrating new technologies into the legal process, staged another coup last week when it awarded a contract that will make it the first to offer statewide electronic filing of lawsuits and other legal briefs.

The announcement that it had signed an agreement with JusticeLink, a Dallas firm that provides similar countywide electronic-file systems in Maryland and other states, followed a review of leading electronic-file providers by a committee consisting of judges, attorneys, court administrators and court clerks.

Last year, there were more than 240,000 lawsuit filings in Colorado civil courts. Now, instead of having to copy, package and manually deliver millions of paper documents between law firms and courts, legal players can simply deliver electronic versions to one another via JusticeLink's World Wide Web site. The documents are stored electronically and instantly accessible by all case parties, including judges and clerks.

"E-filing will reduce the amount of unproductive time now devoted to printing pleadings, making copies of [pleas], printing labels and envelopes, stuffing envelopes and so forth," said Andrew M. Toft, a Colorado attorney who served on the evaluation committee.

A pilot program is set to begin in three district courts: Arapahoe County District Court, the Denver Probate Court and the Greeley Water Court. The Judicial Department hopes to transition to electronic filing in all state district courts by December 2000.

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