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Laurie Machado
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While attending the PA Prothonotary and Clerks of Court Conference, we were able to sit in on the presentation done on the Philadelphia courts' e-file system. Similar to a lot of other e-file systems that are in operation throughout the country, their e-file system is web-based. The court went mandatory with e-filing in Civil cases in January 2009. The Philadelphia courts' e-file system has allowed the court to go paperless for civil cases in 2009, which has helped reduce some costs for the court (specifically, the court has saved money on case jackets) and also allowed them to shift and relocate personnel in the courts (no jobs have been lost due to e-filing, rather personnel have moved to other job duties or divisions). Of particular note on their system's functionality: filers can file both new cases and pleadings; payment of statutory filing fees can be done via credit card or the filer can designate that they will bring their payment to the court; filings paid by credit card are deemed filed for the date and time the credit card was approved; filings paid in person must be paid within five days of e-filing and the file date and time is the day the payment is made at the court; it is an image-based system which allows only PDF documents to be uploaded (file size limit of 3MB per document). Attorneys and pro se filers can use the system, but those are the only two user types. Attorneys must "share" their user name and password with support staff. Training manuals on how to use the e-file system are available at https://fjdefile.phila.gov/docs/Civil-Elec-Filing-Manual.pdf. Overall, it was great to hear about a state-developed and run e-file system and to be able to compare and contrast it to systems that were developed and maintained by vendors.