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updated: 9/15/2013 5:06 PM

McHenry County ushers in electronic court filing, Kane to follow suit

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The 22nd Court Circuit in McHenry County has become the latest to institute electronic filing for lawsuits.

And court officials, who say the move will eliminate long lines and make it easier for people acting as their own attorneys to file cases, did it on a budget. It also allows litigants to file paperwork on existing cases without making another trip to the Woodstock courthouse.

McHenry County Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Keefe said electronic filing is available 24 hours a day and eliminates rushing to the courthouse to file documents.

Keefe noted attorneys are pleased with the new system.

Two examples of convenience: A Milwaukee attorney filed a 109-page document electronically instead of sending a runner to Woodstock, and a Naperville attorney working a divorce case was able to file documents at 4 a.m.

"The benefits of electronic filing include convenience, time savings and instant access," Keefe said in a news release. "In today's world, where we are used to having electronic access to most things immediately, I feel it is important for the court to keep up with technology. (Chief) Judge (Michael) Sullivan and I have worked a long time to make this valuable technology available."

According to court officials, the yearly support and maintenance costs for I2File are less than $15,000 and will be paid for through fees collected from users of the court system. There are no additional costs to attorneys nor people acting as their own lawyer.

Twenty-second Circuit officials say they are the sixth circuit in Illinois to implement electronic filing. Others include: DuPage, Will and St. Clair counties, along with the Second Appellate Court District in Elgin and the Illinois Supreme Court.

Kane County Circuit Court Clerk Thomas Hartwell said electronic filing will be coming to Kane in 2014. Officials are in the process of finding a company to replace the circuit court's outdated case management system.

Hartwell said electronic case filing is a requirement in proposals sent out to companies vying for the job. In October, county officials will bring in finalists for demonstrations and a contract is expected to be awarded in December.

"Then we'll sit down and figure out the implementation and when that can fit in," Hartwell said.

Welcome back: The Kane County State's Attorney's Office recently welcomed back a familiar face.

Sal LoPiccolo, who left the office after 10 years in late 2008 to become the first assistant state's attorney in Boone County, returned in mid-August.

"I'm pleased to have his experience, his professionalism, in the office," State's Attorney Joe McMahon said.

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