“We Must Embrace the All Digital Future”
In a sign of the times for all professions, Newsweek announced today that its last print edition in the United States will be the December 31, 2012, issue. While editor in chief Tina Brown expressed regret over attendant staff reductions and “streamlining,” she said that “we must … embrace the all-digital future.”
In the world of lawyers and courts, we are doing that too – although change in state courts is coming slowly. In Mississippi’s federal court system, since 2003 pleadings have been filed electronically only and are available for viewing by all who register (pacer.gov). State courts here in Mississippi are slowly joining the ranks. Presently, trial courts in DeSoto, Warren, Harrison, Holmes, and Madison County are allowing electronic filing and viewing of pleadings. Again, registration is required (https://www.pamecapps.mec.ms.gov/onlinereg/).
Just this week, this office filed its first state court pleading online in Madison County Circuit Court. Hopefully, other state court judges and clerks will embrace this “new” reality soon and will see that the cost of implementing electronic filing and viewing is necessary and is less than the cost to court participants of not implementing this change. As the Mississippi Electronic Courts System website accurately proclaims, “[E]lectronic case filing systems … enhance the accuracy, management and security of records, reduce delays in the flow of information and achieve cost savings for the judiciary, the bar and litigants.”