What Happens in Vegas Will go to Court

Hosted at the Bellagio in Viva Las Vegas July 21- 25, the National Association for Court Management’s (NACM) annual conference is not something to take a gamble on missing. Showcasing today’s best-of-breed solutions for complete courtroom efficiency, the conversations and innovations are, admittedly, rigged in the judge’s favor and include everything from real-time reporting and digital workflow to the newest tools for better managing multi-media evidence and encouraging a bi-directional flow of information between the Court and its infamously disparate stakeholders.

A Judicial Jackpot 

All attendees are invited to walk away with the invaluable winnings from “Empowering Court Administrators and Judges in the Digital Age” – a co-hosted presentation by James “Dan” Wallis, McHenry County’s Trial Court Administrator for the 22ndJudicial Circuit Court, ImageSoft’s Senior Justice Consultant Brad Smith, and Mentis Technology’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Ben Martin.

With the CMS typically focused on optimizing clerk-related functions and attorney-clerk communications (think eFiling), the justice technology sector has, ironically, been the worst offender of neglecting the most critical aspect of courtroom innovation – equipping the judge. 

Motivated to bring the judiciary to the front and center of all workflow and information sources, this presentation spotlights innovations, both new and solutions trusted over time, in the judicial toolbox that solve the notorious challenge of connecting disparate court stakeholders while equipping the judge with access to information beyond just the case management system. Attendees will enjoy a demonstration of how the McHenry County Circuit Court integrates with local jail information, provides attorneys with all accurate and necessary information to schedule hearings, and supports stakeholders in communicating with their specific courts. 

Come to Our Table and Forget Rolling Dice

Pulling the lever on a solution for your courtroom shouldn’t feel like a gamble – you should know for certain that your investment will be a guaranteed win. With information and experienced thought leaders on a variety of integrative solutions, visiting us at booth #210 has all your answers surrounding tools like the aiSMARTBENCHecosystem, TrueFiling,OnBase’s digital workflow and supportive tools for managing multi-media evidence, including multiple video file types, pictures and metadata. 

We Want to Hear from You!

Have you been to NACM in previous years, or are you a first-timer? What topics and/or solutions will you be taking notes on? 

Reply in the “comments” section below or on our Court Solutions LinkedIn page. We read andrespond – promise!

The Gist of IJIS

Like all industries, the court space is no stranger to organizations marked by confusing acronyms that most people don’t recognize or are even sure how to pronounce. Because so many readers found nuggets (or should we say “cookies”) of wisdom from our “C is for CJIS” deconstruction, we thought we would spell out another version of letter soup that, while not widely understood, is vital to the health and integrity of justice and court collaboration.

“I JIS” Don’t Get It

But did you get that? Our dry humor, that is.

Anyways, back to the letter of the day.

Founded as the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute, the heartbeat of IJIS lives to assist state, local and federal courts and overall public-sector communities in leveraging secure, standards-based information sharing technologies. IJIS work is important in that they partner stakeholders in the justice community with technology partners to promote workable solutions that enhance public safety. Especially in the context of courts, ascending appeal cases to upper courts, sharing cross-jurisdictional information or working with other justice organizations, user confidence in a secure, compliant and efficient case and document management system is key to safer and overall healthier justice communities.

With law enforcement, prosecutors, attorneys, court personnel from several courts and other parties simultaneously working on the same case, there is no room for the antiquated paper-based process of file sharing. Thanks to the experience-based standards and thought leadership of IJIS committees, information interoperability between all necessary parties is possible and trusted.

Can You Provide an Example?

Can Superman fly?

A significant part of IJIS work is establishing exchanges of reporting information, such as for sex offenders, crime statistics and FBI national data exchange. When this touches courts, it’s critical that courts be able to not only provide access to data but also reporting on a timely basis.

This is one of the reasons why courts and prosecutors are digitally transforming using OnBase by Hyland, as ImageSoft delivers it. This enterprise content management system is like a DMS on (legal) steroids. It enables standards-based exchange of documents and metadata, including the NIEM (National Information Exchange Model) standard as new state and federal agencies require access. But access to documents and metadata is not enough. Key information in a criminal case, such as a crime pattern, often does not exist in a case management system. This is the reason why text-searching capabilities of imaged documents is so important for active and forensic investigations.

Comparable to your annoyingly-talented friend who excels at everything, OnBase equips courts with all the functionality needed for a completely electronic case flow. With cloud-based storage, full-text, meta-data searches, color-coded files and highly configurable reporting dashboards, OnBase allows your court to achieve and honor an unparalleled level of transparency and efficiency that publics notice and respect.

In addition to real-time access to documents and metadata, the reporting tools available makes it far easier for courts to generate detailed summary reports by a user that, in the past, may have required a custom development effort. As courts and/or prosecution offices continue to leverage the electronic workflow function for managing processes, the more integrable their data becomes.

In addition to users quickly generating reports, a mouse click also allows them to break it down by judge or disposition along with the underlying data. Such flexibility and real-time data sharing are critical to law enforcement and public safety.Further recommendations from IJIS and other standards have enabled cloud-based applications and storage that facilitates even greater flexibility for data exchange. Due to industry standards and the vast expertise of cloud service providers, the security of these hosted solutions often exceed what courts can leverage with tight resources. One such application is CaseShare by ImageSoft, which enables a lower court to electronically prepare and deliver transcripts and case files to appellate or supreme courts. As a case management neutral application, there are numerous functionalities, such as image to text conversion, bookmarking and table of content generation, that all occur in the cloud and eliminate the need for a court to maintain a complex stack of hardware and software.

While that’s only and nothing but the truth, we also have this Circuit Court case study as testimony.  

I Still Have Questions

We won’t make you take it up with the judge. For more information on court solutions that can support IJIS initiatives, simply contact your ImageSoft representative or fill out this quick form.

We Want to Hear From You!

Is your court mindful about following IJIS guidelines? If not previously, will you recommend it is?

Respond in the comments section below or on our Court Solutions LinkedIn page. We read and respond – promise!

Keep Calm: The Court Clerk Uses CaseShare to Handle It

186_keepcalmclerk“Keep calm” is probably the least comforting phrase to any court clerk trying to ascend a case to the higher, or Appellate, courts. And rightfully so – there are custom requirements to be met, volumes to be assembled, files to be named and pages to be ordered, signed, sealed and delivered. Even after that laborious process, the file will likely still bounce back for unmet requirements, missing or improperly ordered papers, etc. Studies reveal that the court case rejection rates rise as high as 46 percent!

More stress than even a Snickers can fix, we knew we better come up with a solution.

Now There’s an App for That

A purpose-built application, CaseShare is a stand-alone solution that satisfies all state requirements, automates the fancy footwork of appellate court cases, and digitally delivers it in a user-friendly PDF format to the appropriate higher court. But if you really want it to integrate with the lower court’s document management system (DMS), it will.

Remember that 46 percent? Since adopting CaseShare, one county’s Circuit Court reported that less than five percent of its appeal cases have been rejected.

A Ruling in Favor of All

Cat’s out of the bag: lower court clerks benefit from CaseShare in numerous ways. With a previously paper-based process gone automated, rules-based processing keeps them on track while the man hours required to assemble the case and transcripts drops from days to hours. Lower court clerks now have the capacity to handle their appellate case workload, and then some.

But don’t hang your heads just yet, Appellate clerks – you actually win twice! Not only are you spending less time reviewing and sending back the record, but you’ll receive all your files in a consistent manner that also allows you to easily route them into the appropriate hands.

CaseShare didn’t forget about you either, Appellate Justices. A text searchable PDF with bookmarks makes it easier in court proceedings to quickly get everyone on the same page.

Let’s Build a Case for It

There’s more to CaseShare than can fit into one blog – without losing the average reader’s attention, at least. So we built an entire webpage that spells out all the functionalities – including a populated table of contents, text-searchable documents, one-click rotating, re-ordering, deleting and/or adding pages, and more – in chunked, digestible sections. You’ll also be able to listen to a CaseShare-specific webinar which includes a demo by ImagesSoft President Scott Bade and a customer story.

Take Me to the CaseShare Webpage

We Want to Hear From You!

On average, how does your court handle higher court case ascension? Which re-occurring issues do clerks gripe about most?

Make your case in the “comments” section below or on our Courts LinkedIn Showcase page. We read and respond – promise!

 

Are You a Firewall to Your Own Success?

We probably found this funnier than we should have, but we’re a software company – what do you expect?

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Whether you identify with the fax-fanatic or the defeated presenter, hopefully you also found some humor in this. As a paperless organization, it’s intuitive for us to type notes that are automatically backed in a cloud, transfer video files through an online portal, and give virtual presentations via Microsoft Teams. But, all too often, we’re reminded by our colleagues, clients, partners and friends that digital communication is still not the norm.

Burned by the Firewall

We can get a healthy laugh out of this cartoon because it’s satirical of our very existence, which involves the daily battle of digging people’s heels out of the ground when it comes to digitally transforming their painfully paper-heavy processes. To us, going digital makes complete sense: your data is more secure, communicating is easier, efficiency, accountability and visibility are all increased, a few trees and some sanity are saved… the list goes on.

We could talk to you about the benefits of going paperless until we’re blue in the face and, if you’ve had the pleasure of working with us, you know we will. But we’ve come to learn that no matter how many facts we present from every possible angle, we’re not getting passed anyone’s firewall until they turn down the heat. If someone is a stickler on paper and manual procedures, they will incinerate our points with the flames of their implacability before our words have a chance to hit even one ear. Trust us, it happens all the time.

“Why Are You Not Paperless?”

You probably cringe more at this question than the once-per-year holiday dinner where your extended family interrogates every aspect of your personal life. But before you start flame throwing responses like, “it’s much too expensive!” or “the process isn’t broke – why fix it?” we ask that you think about the real reasons behind your apprehension –  growing pains and organization-wide changes are uncomfortable, and it requires a lot of preparation.

No judgment – we completely get it.

Take your time to research, talk to your industry’s thought leaders on paperless organizations, watch demos, and definitely consider the financial investment. Maybe read this article from the National Center for State Courts. But keep in mind that most organizations, and especially public-serving government agencies, are realizing they can no longer gamble sensitive information, data, and years of organizational know-how on the risk of paper, which can be lost, misfiled, easily neglected, or destroyed in natural disasters, like the tragic, unexpected California wildfires.

So What is the First Step to Going Paperless?

Be open to it. Understand what it means to “go paperless” (hint: it’s more than just emailing and/or eFiling). Take an inventory of your current infrastructure and procedures, and identify what’s not working or could be improved. Visualize the potential of your organization and set the goals to get there.

Once you have that, give us a call. We’ll partner with you to understand where your organization is  compared to where you want it to be and work hand-in-hand with you to establish blueprints for your paperless organization – even if we have to fax the initial plans to you.

We Want to Hear From You!

As much as we like to talk, we’re also great listeners! Leave your answer in the comment section below. We read and respond – promise!

Which persona do you identify with in the cartoon above? What is or was your biggest hurdle to digital transformation?

Want to stay updated on the latest government tech trends? Find the news directly in your social feed by following the ImageSoft Government Solutions showcase page.

 

From Crime to Courtroom: Multi-media Integrity

In a recent article from “Police Chief,” video evidence is described as the “silent witness that speaks for itself,” and that’s nothing but the truth. With the video, images, audio and metadata needed to playback crime scenes, it’s critical that multi-media evidence can be unmistakably seen and heard by the entire courtroom.

Many organizations, homeowners and investigative offices think evidence is safeguarded by investing in best-of-breed surveillance cameras. While it is helpful to have a quality source of evidence, it’s not doing  the judge, jury or the case any justice if the courtroom is using a worn-out projectors or older display technologies.

Projecting the Problems

A common consequence of poor projection methods and monitor displays is lost pixel data and, therefore, image quality. Even if a courthouse invests in a higher-end projection system (the best are around $20,000), the forecasted image still passes through the courtroom’s lighting and will be somewhat affected by the various beams. And don’t forget that projection screens inevitably fall victim to discoloration, which also impacts the projected image.

And if you think installing display monitors will close the case, think again. Like most organizations, courthouses don’t have the funding to continuously invest in new or various-sized monitors, so screens that are dated or disproportionate to the video or image’s size will again diminish the pixel resolution and overall quality of the evidence. Undersized monitors also lead to alterations of an object’s size or shape and color changes, which means evidence will still somehow be lost.

So the takeaway is to ensure that any video and image evidence has a resolution that corresponds with the courtroom’s display methods, right? Meh. If a tree falls but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Same type of issue. Presenting high-quality, multi-media evidence is only half the battle. After all, if the jurors can’t see the evidence in question, can it truly impact their decision?

giphy

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recommends the “3H” rule: viewers should be no more than three times the height of the picture away from the screen. Unfortunately, many jurors are seated much farther than this to truly witness the evidence on display and make an informed decision.

Ruling Out Evidence Obstructions

If you’re concerned about your courtroom’s technology infrastructure and overall blueprint, you have a few options. Consider surveying frequenting prosecutors, attorneys and even past jurors on their experiences with presenting and ingesting evidence. You should also do some homework on modern courtroom models, the strategies behind the designs and the effectiveness of each.

After conducting this internal audit and researching best practices, have a chat with your court’s trusted IT person and brainstorm budget-friendly ways to implement any necessary structural changes. After all, evidence serves as the retraced footsteps of a crime scene and communities rely on their court systems’ ability to walk justice from the crime scene to the courtroom.

We Want to Hear From You!

Do you think your courtroom needs a make-over? With an unlimited budget, what would you change about it?

Reply in the comments section below or on our Court Solutions showcase page. We read and respond – promise!

 

 

C is for CJIS

178_cookieAnd criminal justice. And compliance. Coincidence? Clearly not.

Okay, we’re done being clever. After all, criminal justice information services (CJIS) is no joke.

An Acronym I Should Know?

Do you interact with, manage, or otherwise handle criminal justice information (CJI)? Then “yes!’”

CJIS compliance was established and is currently enforced by the FBI. Compliance ensures that professionals handling CJI, including cloud vendors providing software as a service (SaaS), prosecutor’s offices, government agencies, and more, adhere to pre-established, best practices regarding information security when working remotely or on wireless networks, establishing data encryption tactics, developing authentication processes, and other workflow activities.

As you probably guessed, CJIS compliance audits are complex and uncompromising. This seems frustrating to criminal justice professionals trying to do their jobs, but it’s a necessary safeguard for protecting our nation’s justice system.

How Can I Get Started?

Step one: Take some time to read through and understand the FBI’s Security Policy Requirement Document, and accept that complying with the CJIS security policy is no easy gold star.

While we wish we could offer you a magic solution that brings organizations up to pace with every CJIS standard, we can’t. As of today, no one can. But, we can offer some insight into a few processes you’ll want to tighten up (or implement!) in your efforts to prepare for certification.

What Am I Looking At?

In a nutshell, your processes for managing and handling CJI.

From data storage and retrieval to accessibility, internal workflows and communication between law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecutors, etc., you should be able to answer where the information is (and quickly locate it), whose hands it has been in and how it’s been altered at any given time. AKA, an auditable trail.

Hand-in-hand with being able to trace your data’s history is ensuring and proving the integrity of the information entrusted to your care, which can be safeguarded by data encryption and multi-step authentication processes.

You’re Sure There’s Not an App For That?

Yup. But digitizing records, evidence, reports and other CJI material enables you to leverage digital portals that facilitate communication between all necessary parties. These portals, such as LEAP, walk you a few steps closer to meeting CJIS standards.

Implementing robust workflows do not fulfil CJIS compliance, but they do support your efforts in checking the boxes to uphold data integrity and secure confidence in your service to the public.

If you’re interested in CJIS compliance, we recommend partnering with a trusted software vendor who can assess your current processes and recommend solutions or “next steps” for optimizing information security.

Remember: partnering vendors are responsible for ensuring their solutions uphold the promised functionality, but you play a role in sustaining the leveraged technology and continuing to pursue best practices. To help you fulfil your part, ask your vendor to outline a matrix that details the implemented functionalities, and who is responsible for maintaining each aspect of the solution required to comply with the CJIS Security Policy.

We Want to Hear From You!

Are you CJIS compliant or in the process? What hurdles are you facing?

Respond in the “comments” section below or on our Court Solutions showcase page. We read and respond – promise!

Her Name is CORA, and She’s the Future of Courts

175_coraShe can answer FAQs about any courthouse. She helps you search court dockets. She can even direct court visitors to where they need be, and she can do it all in either English or Spanish.

Who is she?

CORA, the Court-Operated Robotic Assistant, is the first robotic solution designed for a court setting. Named after Ottawa County, Michigan’s first female Probate Court judge, Hon. Cora VandeWater, CORA passed a week of pilot testing as the country’s first robotic court greeter during mid-November 2018 at the Ottawa County Grand Haven Courthouse. Quickly winning over both court workers and guests with her helpful assistance, dance moves and selfie skills, CORA went on to attend the National Center for State Court’s (NCSC) 2018 eCourts Conference in Las Vegas. There, she continued to make it easy for guests to look up the conference schedule, read court publications, watch videos and, of course, dance.

A Greater Purpose Behind Her Screen

While CORA offers immediate assistance on several levels, the comfort and convenience she is currently providing through smaller-scale tasks is actually contributing to a greater purpose  – bridging people into the future of court technology.

Rooted in tradition, courts tend to lag behind other industries when adopting new processes, especially when it comes to technology. But with undeniable elephants like access to justice sitting in every American courtroom, it’s becoming increasingly necessary that something be done. To face this challenge head-on, even many traditional judges, court clerks, and court managers are leveraging concepts like online dispute resolution (ODR), electronic filings (eFiling), workflows, and other court technologies to bridge  poor and middle-class citizens to the legal assistance they need. And with CORA now on board, many are enjoying a positive, first experience with the future of court operations.

Back to the Future…

CORA may take us by the hand into the future of court technology, but the digital transformation only just begins with her. Online dispute resolutions, for example, will lend themselves to more than just e-commerce disputes and start making access to justice more affordable and efficient for a variety of public-sector cases. And as courts decide which functionalities to leverage, they may build their own solutions with snap-on, best-of-breed components – a concept known as the Component Model – instead of marrying one vendor for the entire solution. And, as always, evidence management regarding footage from body cameras and surveillance video will continue to evolve.

Tell Me More

Because the bi-annual eCourts conference serves to encourage the dialogue of future courts innovations, these topics were all at the top of discussion. In attendance and immersed in the conversations was ImageSoft President, Scott Bade, who gave us a briefing on all things eCourts during the most recent episode of the Paperless Productivity Podcast. But if you’d rather just skim the details, this blog has your back.

 

We Want to Hear From You!

 

Are you pushing for your court to go paperless, or pushing out the very thought of it?

Tell us in the “comments” section below or on our Court Solutions Showcase page on LinkedIn. We read and respond – promise!

eCourts Uncovered: The 2018 Edition

If you follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, you’ve undoubtedly seen (and, hopefully, ‘Liked’!) a lot of hype about a little something called eCourts. We even published an eCourts blog about it being “the most wonderful time of the year,” and we stand by that.

P.S., if you need to brush up on what eCourts actually is, read that blog.

Scott Bade, President of ImageSoft Inc., was alongside several other ImageSoft team members at eCourts 2018 in Las Vegas, NV, from Dec. 10-12. About 24 hours after arriving back in Detroit, Scott was already briefing our Paperless Podcast team on the innovative, hot-button topics covered at the conference.

You’ll have to listen to the less-than-30-minute podcast to hear everything “Scott says” about the conference but, in case you can’t wait for our 2019 podcast debut, here’s a glimpse of what to expect.

Scott Says…

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Q: What made this year’s conference particularly interesting?

Scott: There has been a natural evolution of the court system. Now that most modern courts have adopted digital records management, they’re learning about how digitalize court processes – how information is flowing to and from clerks, attorneys, constituents, and the courts. So online dispute resolution (ODR), or intelligent dispute resolution (IDR), were definitely hot topics. ImageSoft has been an early advocate for ODR, so this was especially exciting for us. Imagine resolving legal disputes electronically without having to travel or be in the same, physical location as the other parties? That type of convenience is where the world is headed.

Q: What big-discussion topics seemed to thread throughout the conference?

Scott: The National Center for State Courts (NCSC), host of the bi-annual eCourts conference, has been talking a lot about the Component Model. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, the Component Model allows courts to choose best-of-breed components instead of marrying one vendor for all their digital needs. This concept has allowed innovation to catalyze freely since smaller organizations can now compete. These open standards have been really good, and allow the systems to be interoperable.

We also had a lot of healthy conversations surrounding evidence management of larger data, such as that captured on law enforcement body cameras and surveillance video, and we even dipped into some old-school chat about digitizing paper forms for constituents to fill out online. A lot of courts have already done that, but some haven’t, so it’s important that we’re still talking about it.  And, of course, we talked about Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS), which sets the standards for electronic filing, which is a topic of which ImageSoft keeps its thumb on the pulse.

Q: Were there any thoughts on cloud computing floating around at the conference?

Scott: You know, we’re not hearing as much fear associated with the cloud as we used to. It’s actually becoming pretty mainstream for governments and courts. Which makes sense, because today’s constituents, our tax-payers, voters, and citizens, have grown up with technology integrated in their lives, and that’s not going in reverse. They’re demanding digital access to data because they know that type of ease and convenience is possible, and if the current courts or government don’t give that, a competitor will.  

Like what you’ve read? Make a New Year’s resolution to subscribe to The Paperless Productivity Podcast on Google Play or iTunes to hear all of Scott’s thoughts on eCourts 2018 and his predictions on the hottest topics for eCourts 2020.

We Want to Hear from You!

What topic do you think should be on eCourts’ agenda? What exciting innovations do you see on the horizon for the modern court system?

Respond in the comment section below, or on our Court Solutions Showcase page. We read and reply!

 

Webinar Highlights: Bridging the Gap between eFiling and the Paperless Court

A district court administrator, business systems analyst, and information systems director from three different courts across the country agree to be panelists on an eFiling webinar.

It sounds like the beginning of a good intention gone wrong, but it was actually an extremely informative hour learning about the benefits of eFiling for Superior Courts from three critical court perspectives. Unique to these courts is their eFiling solution, TrueFiling, which combines an eFiling portal with a highly configurable DMS, complete with an electronic workflow, that allows them to achieve an end-to-end paperless court.

As with all ImageSoft webinars, we sent a copy of the recording to everyone who registered so, in the event you couldn’t make it, you can still tune in at a more convenient time. For those who didn’t register and don’t have a copy of the recording, and for those who did register but, let’s be real, you’re just not going to listen, we’ve transcribed the webinar’s key moments below.

You’re welcome.

Meet the Panelists

While eFiling alone doesn’t yet subscribe you to the standard of “paperless,” it is a big first step. With cascading effects that impact all your court’s personnel, attorneys, pro se filers, and the superior courts, the decision to offer (or mandate, as many courts have done) electronic filing understandably raises many questions and concerns from every corner of the court.

Many thanks go out to our fun and informative panelists below, who all come from standard court settings, have “been there, done that” with eFiling and lived to share their experiences with us.

171-comeondown

Therese Murphy, District Court Administrator, Yakima County District Court

Christina Dietrich, Business Systems Analyst, Arlington County Circuit Court

Anthony June, Information Systems Director, Macomb County Circuit Court

In Their Own Words

Q: What has been your experience with electronic filing?

Christina: Just a myriad of benefits! Arlington County Circuit Court has seen a more than 20 percent increase in case load and has been able to comfortably manage it without an increase in staff. We’re offering better service to our constituents and attorneys who, with 24×7 access to filing, can file and manage cases when it’s convenient for them. It saves them incredible time not having to drive and pay to park just to file. Prior to adopting TrueFiling, one clerk tracked the time she spent looking for missing case files and logged 14 hours in an average work week.

Therese: Adoption is easily in the 90 percent range! Filers would much rather eFile than drop papers off to the court.

Anthony: We’ve been eFiling for about eight years, and it’s been a driving force in opening access to the court. We took feedback from attorneys in terms of how they like to prepare and submit documents and what they liked and didn’t like about eFiling, provided that feedback to ImageSoft, and they built that feedback back into their product. It’s important to keep in mind that not every filer has same technical skillset. We have actually built out a technical division of the Macomb County Court so self-represented litigants can receive technical assistance with completing and filing their electronic documents. I caution anyone who thinks clerk staff can manage supporting attorneys and pro se filers with technical needs – we provide technical resources who can take the time to ensure filers have what they need. This way, the clerks’ day and document processing aren’t affected, and filers appreciate the extra support.

Q: Tell us about how eFiling has impacted your court’s workflow?

Christina: The transmission of documents and information follows a much more defined path. Our clerks no longer have to ask, “where does this go from here?” This more-established process has also instilled a greater sense of confidence in our constituents, who trust that they will receive their files as soon as the judge signs it. This faith in the system has also translated with the higher courts. When ascending a case to the Court of Appeals, we now have a very low rejection rate because what used to be a very tedious, manual process is now mostly automated.

Anthony: A value that many people don’t think about is this new-found ability to measure how many documents are coming through the door, and building metrics regarding staff management and how efficiently they’re able to process certain amounts of documents. This is extremely valuable in managing staff resources!

Q: Has CMS-integration made a difference in your electronic filing experience?

Anthony: It’s rare that you will find a full-source provider for everything so, nowadays, you need to integrate. Integration considerations are very important when choosing your eFiling vendor. Something you can do in advance of your eFiling project is to reach out to vendors and find out what they offer, what they can and can’t integrate, and if they have worked with other vendors.

At some point, you’re going to expose your staff to a new system, and you want efficiency to go along with it.

Christina: CMS integration has allowed us to keep the information in our records management system consistent with the information in our CMS. ImageSoft helped us build a custom way for us to record information in CMS and pull it in real-time so we don’t have to wait for a daily feed.

Q: After making the decision to pursue electronic filing, how was your change management? What strategies worked in corralling support for your decision?

Therese: I involved those least accepting of change so they, in turn, would share their experience in a positive way with the rest of staff who, after hearing their testimony, would be all on board. I involved these subject-matter experts in any changes to existing processes, and even created a lab where staff could test and be trained on the solution in real-life work stations. Giving power to the employees and involving them in the process was the best decision I ever made when it came to deploying a successful project because I needed their support.

For external users, we hosted a series of meetings and several training sessions to expose them to the concept and get filers comfortable with eFiling.

My biggest take-way is that you need to put thought into this. Think about your staff, partners, and users, and the best way to get them all on board. If you don’t, you’re going to have some real challenges down the road.

Christina: We got all our users comfortable with using system by running through all the test scenarios. We crossed things off the list while  still preparing for the solution to to be at their desk everyday and, by the time the first day rolled around, it was muscle memory.

Communication was critically important! We named it “Project Paperless,” made t-shirts, had cakes, and posted signs in our office so filers would ask us and be prepared. All in all, it took about four months for everyone to be rolling smoothly. Funny store: about 8 months in, our system was actually out for a short while and everyone panicked. We said, “just proceed like you did before eFiling” and everyone’s response was “what do you mean ‘like before eFiling?’”

Q: How was working with Judges through this paperless transition?

Therese: The judge can put an end to this quickly, so it’s crucial that we had a judge on our team while developing the solution. In this kind of project, we tend to think about admins, so don’t underestimate the judge’s role. OnBase for judges is an amazing tool! They actually hate when paper files come to their benches now. Being able to create e-forms, play with tabs, and get their job done more efficient – judges are a big fan!

Anthony: Courts around the country have not anticipated so much technology in courtroom. In our courtrooms, we work with judges to come up with a solution to fit their needs. You’re not going to have a one-monitor-fits-all solution – each judge is going to need the technology formatted to fit his or her needs. At the end of the day, the judge is going to need to access a digital case file as conveniently as traditional paper, and I suggest you get started sooner rather than later.

Have Qs of Your Own?

We have your answers! Be sure to follow our Court Solutions LinkedIn page to keep up with and register for all our court-related webinars. Remember: all registrants receive a copy of the recording!

We covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Between technology infrastructure, corralling stakeholder support and training staff, there’s a lot to consider when pursuing paperless processes. What’s your court’s biggest hurdle?

Answer in the comments section below or on social media. We promise to read and respond!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – eCourts 2018!

The cold temperatures have arrived and they’ve brought the stress of the holiday season with them. Sounds like a good time to hop a plane to sunny and simple Las Vegas, right? We think so too, which is why we do so every other year for the bi-annual eCourts Conference. 169_eCourts.png

2018 eCourts Conference

Presented by the National Center for State Courts, the eCourts Conference is the jackpot for innovation-driven courts across the nation. The two-day summit immerses CIOs, judges, court managers, clerks, justice administrators and all eager-to-learn court personnel in the latest trends driving court technology. Not only will these sessions keep your thumb on the pulse of courtroom IT know-how, but it’s the perfect place to network, share and hear other’s experiences, and finally address the pressing issues that have been holding your court’s efficiency in contempt for far too long.

The Gift That Keeps Giving

While you’re trying to forget all the holiday hustle your family keeps texting you about, stroll over to booth #312 and meet some of the personality behind your favorite paperless process people! In addition to product experts, several members of our leadership team will also be hanging out in between note taking at their favorite sessions.

Things to talk to us about:

 

Can’t Wait to Warm Up?

Weather-wise, we can’t do much. After all, we are headquartered in southeast Michigan – the state that’s literally shaped like a piece of winter apparel.

But we can give you a pre-eCourts warm up on some of this year’s hot-button issues. Grab some hot chocolate and head over to: www.imagesoftinc.com/ecourts2018. After that…

We Want to Hear from You! Before eCourts.

If you haven’t already heard, we like to talk. But we’re also great listeners and we want to hear what you have to say.

In your opinion, what’s the best court solution to date? Will you be talking about it at eCourts this year?

Join our other, industry-specific conversations by following the LinkedIn page below that best fits your industry’s needs:

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