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Legal document scanning services are integral to a well-run district court. The National Center for State Courts acknowledges “records and document management are at the core of most courts’ business processes.” 

There are many good reasons to use a document scanning company to help manage and streamline your documents and records.

Legal document scanning services and electronic court records (ECR)

Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is a service run by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. PACER allows users to access case and docket information from district courts, as well as federal appellate and bankruptcy courts. 

A document scanning company can help district courts more easily provide these documents and records to the public.

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Scanning legal documents helps lawyers

Chances are when you go to the doctor, he or she carries an iPad or tablet at your appointments. More and more essential services are going paperless for the sake of convenience and portability. The legal profession should be no exception.

Searchable legal documents are beneficial to law offices. Gone are the days of lawyers needing large briefcases everywhere they go. When a lawyer can quickly pull up and search for information electronically, everyone benefits.

A document scanning company can help legal practices and courts host documents once they scan them. While courts and legal documents can store electronic documents digitally through a document scanning service, paper is still an option. If a court or practice needs hard copies, electronic records and documents can always be downloaded and printed out.

A court that engages legal document scanning services can more easily interface with legal offices that have gone paperless. If your court uses document scanning, document sharing with these entities will go more smoothly.

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Practical Considerations: Save Space 

Saving space and minimalism are trendy at present and for a good reason. A de-cluttered space is calmer and more organized. Think about how much room you will have once you can clear out filing cabinets and shelves from your office.

A document scanning company lets you cut down on the amount of paper coming in and out of your offices.

There are legal offices now that are entirely paperless. A district court will need to be able to scan documents to work with such legal offices.

A legal document scanning service can scan your documents for district courts. Paralegals will appreciate their freedom. The time that an organization needed to scan documents they can now spend working on cases.

River City Data offers Secure Socket Layer (SSL) digital hosting for your documents. SSL encrypts your legal documents. This capability is particularly valuable when you are dealing with sensitive material.

Legal offices and courts are vulnerable to leaks, and encrypted documents are safer.

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A Brief History of Legal Document Management in the United States

The role of paperwork in the legal profession has steadily expanded since its inception.

America has 94 federal judicial districts, and each of those has 12 regional circuits. These courts are essential to our judiciary system. Their technology needs to be up to date.

In the nation’s early days, the number of admiralty cases in a district largely determined the court’s caseload. The reason was district courts initially served as federal courts for maritime and admiralty cases.

Therefore, a district court could hear relatively few cases. The district court’s clerk, responsible for administration in the district and circuit courts, was likely pretty busy. For most of the early history of the district courts, district court judges occupied themselves primarily with circuit court business.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the role of district courts started to expand. District judges were sometimes responsible for multiple state districts. 

The judge and clerk likely handled many paper documents on a given day, which would have traveled very slowly. When Congress established the 13 judicial districts back in 1789, courts dealt with reports much differently. Legal document scanning services can bring federal judicial districts into the 21st century. 

Federal data on caseloads did not really exist prior to the creation of the Department of Justice in 1870. The amount of paperwork required from courts increased considerably in 1910. That was when the DoJ issued new forms so those district attorneys could regularly update their caseload information for federal government statistics.

Another factor that increased the demand for document management was Prohibition. When the nation outlawed alcohol in the early 20th century, caseloads increased. Not surprisingly, courts struggled to keep up with the administrative demands that accompanied this increased workload.

Harried paralegals and clerks in Prohibition-era America would have appreciated legal document scanning services. Quick, secure, and searchable document scanning is more than a luxury for a busy court; it is a necessity. 

An ability to manage paper flow helps track caseload data. When a court keeps track of its caseload, it has a better idea of the resources it needs. A document scanning company is an essential tool for a district court that needs to be adequately resourced.

When the Department of Justice created the Bureau of Statistics in 1935, reporting on caseloads required even more paper. Courts were required to submit monthly data cards to the Bureau of Statistics on every case it began and ended. The Bureau of Statistics then special machines to tabulate the data.

This mechanization of court data anticipated the need for River City Data’s services. Clerks and attorneys must have spent a lot of time preparing these detailed data cards for submission. These hardworking legal professionals could have saved so much time if document scanning companies had existed.

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River City Data Can Help

Courts need to provide information to the Department of Justice, legal clients, or the general public. The sheer number of documents a typical court deals with can make storing and sharing this information a challenge.

River City Data assists with scanning paper to digital and microfilm formats and transferring microfilm to digital images. River City Data also helps with document hosting and archiving. Start saving time and resources; contact River City Data for further information on services and pricing.