7th Circuit seeks comment on e-filing rule changes

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is revising its rules to require initial electronic filing of all documents, and the federal appellate court is taking public comment for the next three weeks.

Proposed revisions to Circuit Rule 25 on e-filing and Rule 27 on emergency filings were posted Monday, giving the public until March 25 to review and submit comment about the changes. The Circuit would also strike Rule 31(e), which deals with uploading digital briefs and would no longer be needed under the new rules.

If the rules are adopted by an advisory committee as proposed, the court expects them to take effect May 1. A draft of the Electronic Case Filing (ECF) Procedures can be found on the court’s website at

“Many courts are using this e-filing already, so we’re just hopping on the bandwagon,” said Circuit Clerk Gino Agnello in Chicago. “This has been evolving nationally during the past two years and we’re one of the last to do it, because we wanted to make sure all the kinks are out of the system. We were one of the first in the country to make briefs and opinions available electronically and most attorneys have been doing this at the District level already, so our bar is ready to go.”

Rule 25 pertains to all briefs, motions, petitions, and similar documents filed with the court but does not apply to pro se litigants and also allows for parties to request an exemption from the rule. Rule 27 outlines the procedures for emergency filings when the Clerk’s Office is closed.

As far as electronic access to documents, these rule revisions don’t make any practical changes to what attorneys and members of the public will see online, Agnello said. Rather, it will push the court to go paperless and require the initial e-filing. Traditionally, paper filings have been the “official” copies while e-briefs have been the courtesy copy.

Agnello said pinpointing a number of documents this could involve is difficult to assess, because any of the 3,300 to 3,400 new filings a year could entail multiple briefs and documents.

“Whatever the amount, this will reduce the number of paper files we have dramatically,” Agnello said.

Written comments can be submitted to: Advisory Committee, c/o Clerk of Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 219 South Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60604. They can also be sent by email to

Once the start date gets closer, Agnello said the court will likely post training materials online for attorneys and members of the public.


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  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

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