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Courting the Environment

December 17, 2014
This week’s blog isn’t for law offices only!  In the course of our lives, professionally and personally, at some point we are likely to be dealing with our court systems at the local, state, or federal levels.  Among the many innovations that courts have undertaken in recent years is to adopt technologies that improve the courts’ efficiency and accessibility to the public.  One important trend is e-filing, which refers to the transition from a paper-based system to electronic filing and processing of actions, from traffic citations to litigation. 
The leading institution in the U.S. that serves as a clearinghouse of information and knowledge that is shared among the courts and as a leading think tank for innovation is the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), based in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The NCSC produces an annual report, Trends in State Courts, which is a compendium of articles with special focus on major issues and highlights significant projects and achievements in courts across the nation. 
Among the key trends reported this year are the adoption of e-filing and the conversion from paper-based processing and records management to digital images.  This trend is good news for the environment.  Law offices have been among the highest consumers and producers of paper.   When the courts mandate electronic transmission of documents, a beneficial side effect is the conservation of paper, toner, and even equipment.  We may not see reductions in overall consumption, but we can expect a reduction in the increase of both paper and equipment needed to meet future needs.  Read more.
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