There are many excellent reasons to get good at using PDF in legal practice. One compelling motivation is that it is the standard for electronic filing in the Federal Courts. The rollout of the eFiling/case management program from the Administrative Office for the US Courts is well underway.
A few years back, the AO implemented a very ambitious program for e-filing. The plan was (and still seems to be) to institute e-filing first in the Bankruptcy courts, and then in the US District Courts. This plan seems to be rolling right along. I think it will become more common for judges to require e-filing in most cases where the parties are represented by counsel. I also think that, given the complexity of the filing process, there are real opportunities for getting a cost-effectiveness edge on the opposition through the smart use of available tools.
The US Courts have decided that PDF is the format for filing. Period. There are lots of good reasons for that choice, including ubiquity, security, and permanence. In addition, the idea behind e-filing is to make the workflow in the courthouse better. PDF works very nicely for that.
We’ll be covering a lot more about e-filing in the future. Also, if you’ve got info about PDF or other e-filing issues in state and local courts, please let us know. It’s not just the federal judiciary…