Microsoft, BearingPoint Team For Legal E-Filing Service

The system, being implemented in Texas, lets lawyers file legal documents electronically.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

April 8, 2003

2 Min Read

Texas courts are implementing a system that lets lawyers file legal documents electronically. The system, based on Microsoft technologies, won't cost county and state governments any money to deploy, but lawyers in civil suits, defendants in criminal cases, and other parties would be charged $4 for each filing--regardless of its size--to file electronically.

The new service, announced Tuesday, is being offered by Microsoft, which provides the technology, and consulting firm BearingPoint Inc., which is in the middle of a six-year outsourcing contract with Texas to provide online, citizen-facing services such as license renewals.

Courts without back-end management systems can print the E-filed documents. Those with more sophisticated technology can integrate the filings into their court-management systems. The two companies have teamed in Texas, where the system is being tested in two counties in suburban Houston and San Antonio. "Use of the service by our courts can save attorneys time, reduce total-filing costs, and assist courts in becoming more efficient--this is especially critical in these challenging economic times," Texas CIO Carolyn Purcell said in a statement.

The $4 fee goes to BearingPoint and Microsoft. The Texas legislature approved a bill to allow each of its 254 counties to assess a small surcharge to help offset court costs tied to the E-filings. Gary Miglicco, managing director of BearingPoint's national E-government solutions unit, says the cost to lawyers to file paper documents is about $25 per filing.

BearingPoint and Microsoft will market and sell the system they call E-Filing For Courts solution state by state. It will be marketed to the federal courts, too.

The system uses the LegalXML standard schema and Web services standards such as Simple Object Access Protocol. E-Filing for Courts integrates with existing front-end and back-end technology systems and applications, making it straightforward for state courts to adopt the solution and exchange data with attorneys throughout the state, regardless of the systems they employ. Attorneys using E-filing can file documents and make payments to multiple courts through one standard interface accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The E-filing system is based on Microsoft technologies, including Windows Server 2000, BizTalk Server, SQL Server database, Internet Security and Acceleration Server, and Visual Studio .Net, Microsoft's rapid application development tool for building next-generation Web applications and XML Web services.

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