Provider of State IT Solutions Lays the Systems Integration Groundwork for e-Filing
Boston, Massachusetts - July 21, 2014
RSI®, a leading provider of IT solutions and services for state courts and government agencies, is working closely with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court to ready their IT systems for the state’s upcoming e-filing pilot program. The new e-filing service, to be called “eFileMA”, will enable attorneys, state agencies, and self-represented litigants to file court cases and legal documents through a web portal.
The e-filing initiative is a critical part of a broader effort to migrate Massachusetts courts from their historical reliance on paper documents to a primarily digital system that will reduce storage and staffing costs while improving accessibility. The pilot program will roll out e-filing services for six courts — three at the Trial Court level and three at the Appellate Court level (including the Supreme Judicial Court). A milestone in the pilot program preparations was reached in April when the Massachusetts Courts announced the selection of a third-party, out-of-state company to build and operate the web portal through which case participants will e-file documents for submission to the courts.
While the web portal component may have the most visible public profile, the portal is just one part of the IT transformation that’s being undertaken to support e-filing. A key challenge for the courts is to integrate the e-filing web portal with the courts’ current IT systems. For the Appellate Court, this integration effort is being led by RSI, whose Forecourt® case management system (CMS) is used by the Court to streamline and automate its daily business operations.
For the eFileMA program, RSI is providing the Forecourt ECF Adapter solution that will seamlessly integrate the new e-filing web portal with the Appellate Court’s critical business systems. The ECF Adapter will process data and documents coming from the web portal and then automatically update case records in the Forecourt CMS as well as routing case documents into the Court’s electronic document management system.
The ECF Adapter is compliant with ECF 4.0, an open industry standard for conducting transactions between the multiple components of an end-to-end e-filing infrastructure. RSI’s Forecourt ECF Adapter is a vendor-neutral solution that can be used in combination with any ECF-compliant e-filing component or CMS.
Along with providing a systems integration solution for ingestion of e-filed data and documents, RSI is helping the Appellate Courts prepare for the profound changes in business processes and workflows that will follow from a shift toward electronic case documents. “The initial challenge in launching the new e-filing service is getting the different systems integrated, and electronically storing the submitted documents,” said RSI President Bob Gorman. “The second challenge is to reengineer the business processes for the new workflow, and revise the IT systems to support those processes.”
For example, RSI is developing an interface between its Forecourt CMS and the Appellate Court’s document management system that will enable judges and court staff to access electronic case documents directly through the CMS, together with case docket information as a complete solution. RSI's Forecourt Touch mobile application gives judges the ability to review their caseloads and case documents through a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device.
While providing the Court with the software solutions it needs to maximize the business value of e-filing, RSI has also played a key advisory role for the Court since the inception of the e-filing initiative. Looking ahead, RSI will drive several phases of testing to ensure that all the elements of the new e-filing infrastructure are working together properly. For the Appellate Court, the eFileMA pilot is expected to go live in 2015.
Relational Semantics, Inc. (RSI) has been building, deploying, and supporting IT solutions for state governments for three decades. Based in Boston, RSI serves the New England region exclusively. Our Forecourt systems for the judicial branch, and Paragon® systems for the executive branch, help state government meet core operational requirements like case management, application processing, data integration, mobile productivity, and public access. For more information, visit https://www.rsi.com/.