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Best eFiling tools for law firms

Of all the digital innovations in the legal industry, electronic filing (eFiling) stands out as a big change for litigators.

No more worrying about a delivery person taking your paper filing to the clerk’s office in time — now legal documents can be filed quickly and easily over an internet connection. Law firms that make good use of eFiling will reap the benefits of greater efficiency, accuracy, and peace of mind.

This makes it important to find the best eFiling software for your practice.

Not all legal filing services are created equal, so it pays to research your options. To that end, here are some of the best eFiling tools for lawyers.

#1: InfoTrack

InfoTrack is a litigation workflow tool that integrates with your practice management or document management software. With InfoTrack, you can eFile directly from your matter.

Instead of downloading everything, entering data into the state filing system, and manually updating your records, InfoTrack can auto-populate that data. It’s much faster and more accurate.

In the busiest court filing systems in the country, InfoTrack can automatically convert documents to formats that conform with local rules. In California, InfoTrack will also file in counties that only accept paper filings.

When the filing is completed, the court-stamped documents will automatically be synced back to the appropriate client matter. Plus, all expenses are recorded to the appropriate matter and billed on 30-day terms so that you can easily and accurately bill your clients.

InfoTrack also provides an array of litigation services beyond eFiling such as service of process, electronic signatures, and automatic docket updates.

#2: One Legal

One Legal is a powerful tool for eFiling in California courts.

It is a court-approved eFiling service provider in all California counties where eFiling is enabled in addition to handling physical filings in non-enabled counties.

Legal professionals can use One Legal to track the status of their court filings, then receive court-stamped documents by email when the filings are completed. Filing fees are paid upfront on behalf of the firm, with an invoice generated for each filing to allow for easily passing the costs on to clients.

One Legal also provides extensive customer support, including an online support center and a team of specialists available by phone or email.

Moreover, a legal professional can add extra services as they place their eFiling order — including personal service of process or a courtesy copy delivered to the courthouse.

#3: Legal e-file

For a simplified eFiling service, Legal e-file may suit the needs of many firms.

The platform enables eFiling in California, Illinois, and Indiana, providing a single-screen interface for customers. Legal e-file will also convert Word or WordPerfect documents into PDF format before filing, saving legal professionals the time and trouble of doing so themselves.

Legal e-file does not integrate with practice management solutions or other software, so it’s a good option for small firms that don’t currently use a PMS or DMS.

Court-stamped documents can be returned in acceptance notification emails. A case summary view displays information on the case parties and assigned judge. Filing activity reports give you all filing activity for a certain case or date range, making it easier to bill filing fees to clients.

Legal e-file also offers some services outside of eFiling, such as electronic service of filed documents and service of process. 24/7 customer support is another plus — especially useful for the less tech-savvy customers to which this solution caters.

#4: Adobe Acrobat

Electronic filing can only be accomplished with PDF documents, so you need a way to create, edit, and manage those PDFs.

The preeminent tool for working with PDF documents is Adobe Acrobat. It’s a good idea to get familiar with it, even if you use a tool like InfoTrack that automatically converts documents to PDF and applies OCR.

A legal professional using Adobe Acrobat for eFiling will need to develop some essential skills. You must be able to create text-searchable PDFs, as this is a requirement of courts that accept eFiling.

Electronic signatures are often sufficient instead of ink signatures, so you should have the ability to implement this option.

Redaction and Bates numbering are two other vital abilities for working with PDF files.

Bookmarking is another important skill for PDF documents. This refers to having a word or phrase that links to another section of the document when it is clicked on. Many courts require eFiled documents to bookmark exhibits or appendices, and Adobe Acrobat will fulfill this function.

#5: Foxit

Another tool that works well with PDF documents for the purposes of eFiling is Foxit.

With the Foxit PDF Editor, a legal professional can easily generate PDFs and create searchable documents. The PDF Editor also allows for redaction of documents.

Users can collaborate on PDF documents using Foxit ConnectedPDF.

Finally, Foxit integrates with several popular document management systems, so if you’re using one of their partners, this might be a good choice for you.

Choosing the best eFiling tools for your law firm

Electronic filing is no longer an optional thing. Courts across the country have adopted mandatory eFiling, and the few holdouts are moving in that direction.

This reality turns eFiling software into critical productivity tools for lawyers. Take advantage of the shift to higher tech filing and use good tools so that you can focus your time on other critical legal work.

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