Newsletter, October 2000
In order to provide better service, we will begin to
accept and file petitions for all Eau Claire matters at the Eau Claire
courthouse. The staff will accept petition, fees, and all other
matters which, until recently, could only be filed in the Madison Office.
We hope this will provide a convenient service for counsel
in the cities of Eau Claire, La Crosse, Marshfield, Wausau, and surrounding
municipalities. It is part of our plan to improve our customer
services by reducing the use of mail and express service, and by
permitting easier access to court documents for local members of the bar
and the public.
The next State Bar of Wisconsin's Northwestern Wisconsin
Bankruptcy Institute is set for Friday, May 11, 2001, at the Ramada Inn in
Eau Claire. As a follow-up to the last program, there will be an
update on Electronic Case Filing in addition to other bankruptcy issues.
Enclosed with this issue of the newsletter is a brief
customer service survey. We have designed the survey to require no
more than five minutes time to complete. Additional copies will be
available at the service counters in the Madison and Eau Claire
offices. Copies will also be included in any return envelopes
provided to our office with filings. We urge you to have everyone on
your staff who works with our office complete at least one. We value
Terry Payne (Madison) has been promoted to
Automation Specialist. In that capacity, Terry is responsible for
staff automation training and will be a member of our Electronic Case
Filing (ECF) training team, which will be working with the bar to
familiarize and implement ECF.
Susan Hoffman (Eau Claire) and Jolene Fisher
(Madison) have been promoted to Case Administrator/Trainers. They
will be developing ECF education programs and working with Terry to
provide hands-on training and assistance to you. Jolene and Susan
have extensive experience in adult learning, have conducted training in
our court and as guest trainers outside this district, and are already
working on some ECF-related projects.
Tina Godding and Steve Wolfgram recently joined us
as Case Administrators in Madison. Tina was formerly employed as a
legal secretary. Steve is a recent UW-Madison graduate who worked
part-time as a legal secretary. Welcome!
Our Administrative Office recently solicited applications
from all 90 bankruptcy courts to determine the order of implementation.
To date, we are among 27 courts requesting early consideration. We
estimate six courts will receive approval to begin the transition process
in the spring of 2001; thereafter the system will be "rolled
out" in waves of 4-6 courts.
Questions & Answers
What is Electronic Case Files (ECF)?
ECF is a solution to the judiciary's case management and
filing needs. It was motivated by the necessity of replacing an
aging system. Today's technology has advanced to the point that
information can be efficiently and securely exchanged
electronically. Accordingly, the system includes the capability
for electronic files, including the ability to accept case filing over
What does ECF do?
ECF allows all documents associated with a court case to
be managed electronically. Advantages of ECF include making
concurrently available complete case files to multiple users.
Notices of filing are automatically transmitted to case participants,
and all documents are instantly accessible, 24 hours a day. Since
ECF allows attorneys to file documents and create docket entries over
the Internet, savings are also realized in the form of reduced mailing,
courier and express mail costs. Additionally, access to files and
other documents is not restricted to the hours which the clerk's office
How will court staff and attorneys be trained?
Each court will be responsible for training staff and
attorney users. Satellite broadcasts and computer-based training
(CBT) modules will be available to educate court and public users, with
the individual courts responsible for administering the program.
In the Western District, we plan to offer a variety of option; in-house
at the courthouse; at off-site locations; or at law firms.
Will attorneys be able to access the ECF system after
the court's regular business hours to file cases and review
The system can be made available 24 hours a day, seven
days a week. However, courts may choose to limit access after
normal court work hours by local rule or procedure.
Will federal or local rules be in place to establish
procedures for electronic filing?
The Federal Rules of Procedure currently authorize individual
courts to permit electronic filing of documents by local rule. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(e); Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(d); Fed. R. App. P.
25(a)(2)(D); Fed. R. Bankr. P. 5005(a)(2), 7005, 8008(a).
Give us your e-mail!
Attorneys, interested parties and staff, give us your
e-mail addresses. We hope to begin utilizing e-mail for notification
of upcoming news (e.g., an electronic version of this newsletter),
events, and more. ECF can also use e-mail for filing notification and
our current PACER and Web PACER systems may be modified to include attorney
contact e-mail addresses, together with phone numbers and addresses.
No, we will not bombard you with e-mail or share our
e-mail lists with other parties, but we do hope to continue to improve our
procedures by using e-mail as another means of providing information.
If you wish to subscribe to an electronic
version of this newsletter, simply e-mail us at the address below and put
"Subscribe" in the Re or Subject line of the message.
Via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org