In the next two months, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Bar members will need to register and become familiar with the Florida’s new statewide Internet e-filing portal in order to meet a Supreme Court deadline that all civil case filings must be electronic by April 1.
The Florida Court E-Filing Authority, which oversees the portal, heard a report in mid-January that more than 20,000 lawyers had registered to do electronic filing. However, estimates are that 50,000 to 60,000 lawyers are routinely doing civil filing and will need to know how to e-file by the April 1.
(Criminal e-filing becomes mandatory for attorneys on October 1. Deadlines for the various appellate courts are spread across this year, beginning with the Supreme Court on February 27.)
Some lawyers may have little time to get acclimated to e-filing. Fifty-eight of 67 counties were ready to receive all types of civil e-filing as of mid-January, and three were expected to be ready by the end of January. However, the remaining six — all large counties — expect to be ready only a month or less before the deadline. Hillsborough and Miami-Dade counties expect to be ready around the April 1 deadline. Orange, Osceola, Pasco, and Pinellas counties expect to be ready about a month ahead of time.
If you’re looking to get up to speed on e-filing, here’s where to start: Go to the e-filing authority’s website: www.flclerks.com/eFiling_authority.html.
From there, you can find a link to the portal, or you can go to the portal directly at www.myflcourtaccess.com.. The portal has step- by-step directions for registering. Any Bar member can register, even if his or her local county is not yet ready to accept civil e-filings.
The bottom of the left-hand column of the authority’s website also has three links to videos. Two focus on explaining the portal and the benefits of e-filing. The third discusses appellate e-filing. Just above the video links is a link to “Frequently Asked Questions.”
At the bottom of the portal website, there is a link where users can e-mail questions to a help desk about the portal and e-filing.
As this News went to press, the authority is working on more training videos on e-filing, which will be linked to its website when they are available. Many county clerks have training or information available about e-filing, and interested attorneys should check with their local clerk. Additionally, the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers has a training program for several CLE’s that local bar associations can request. For local training, contact Levi Owens at email@example.com.