By Megan LaVoie
Texas Office of Court Administration
Houston attorney Bob Gilbert likely wasn’t the only lawyer working as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, but he was the only one using efiletexas.gov. Gilbert was the first attorney to e-file on the new system as the mandate went into effect on Jan. 1.
He e-filed a suggestion of bankruptcy case for his client at 12:39 a.m. in a Dallas court from the comfort of his Houston home.
“I didn’t mean to run over midnight, I had several cases to file that night, how embarrassing that I was the first one,” he said with a laugh. “The kids had gone out, my wife was asleep, so I thought I would take advantage of the time I had to do some work.”
Gilbert, a solo practitioner who specializes in consumer law, said the ability to e-file has changed his business.
“As soon as it became available, I signed up,” he said. “It’s been a great benefit for me. I never felt comfortable sending filings through the mail, and I hate driving to the courthouse to file.”
Efiletexas.gov has seen a surge in filings in its first week under the mandate. On Jan. 1, there were 142 filings and 37,873 registered users in the system. On Jan. 7, the system received 10,570 filings and rose to 42,322 registered users. In all, there were 36,375 filings in the first week of statewide e-filing.
To put those numbers into perspective, without e-filing Texas clerks in the state’s 10 most-populous counties would have had to process 231,605 pieces of paper. That’s an estimated savings of roughly $2,000 dollars in paper costs alone and considerable storage and processing costs in just one week.
Gilbert said he practices across the state and greatly appreciates that there is now a uniform system for him to access. When he was asked what he thought about his permanent spot in e-filing history he humbly said, “As a lawyer, I’m glad I had work to do.”
For more information and to register to e-file visit www.efiletexas.gov.