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Saturday, November 22, 2008

It Would be Nice to have the Court File

I'm going to try NOT to talk about the low-tech, paper court filing system in Cook County...at least for most of this post because it's actually a slightly different issue I want to raise. The issue that bothers me is within the Cook County Domestic Relations Division (I think this is division-wide although nearly all of my domestic practice these days is at Daley so this my be a Daley specific issue) when your case is court, your case file is not actually brought to the courtroom. Whether your case is set for an almost meaningless "status report" to the start of a 2 week trial, your case is listed on a docket sheet but all of the past case orders are not at your or the judge's fingertips. This can be a big problem.

I was in court this week on a case I had just gotten retained on a few days before a status hearing. So my client and I were essentially going to meet for the first time in court and he was going to give me some of the recent orders (he hadn't been able to e-mail or fax them to us). Well, at the last minute he can't show-up so now I'm in court with no previous court orders, the opposing party is pro-se and has no orders, and because the file doesn't come to court at Daley Center, the Judge has no orders. So then the judge is looking at her scribbled minutes/notes that she keeps but those aren't really court orders and so it's a big mess.

Of the 2-3 sorts of matters that bring me to court, the domestic relations division is the only division where there's not a court file in court when your case is up. Why? My guess, and now I must hark back to the poor Cook filing system, is that the problem is related to the fact that only '05 files to the present are kept on-site at Daley. The rest are off-site in the "warehouse."

I'm starting to see more than a handful of judges I'm in front of at both Daley and 32 W. Randolph us computers right on the bench, would it be too hard to have some intranet that they could access to view the case file online??

1 Comments:

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