September 27, 2017
On behalf of the Supreme Court, I welcome you to another edition of Illinois Courts Connect. I am extremely fortunate and honored to have been selected by the Illinois Supreme Court earlier this year to serve as its Administrative Director. My term of appointment officially began August 1, 2017, after my predecessor, Michael J. Tardy, retired as Administrative Director on July 31, 2017.
As I close in on the two-month mark and reflect on this honor, I first must express my gratitude to Chief Justice Karmeier and the Supreme Court for offering me this incredible opportunity. It is a thrill each and every day to serve the Court in my new capacity. I also wish to thank former Director Tardy for his incredible generosity and support as a supervisor, mentor and friend. His professional demeanor, steadfast commitment, and genuine passion for the work of the Illinois courts has left its mark on our justice system and made it a better place.
Although I am new to this position, I am not new to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC). Previously, I served as AOIC Deputy Director for four years under Director Tardy. Before that, I served as AOIC’s Chief Legal Counsel.
To those of you who work in court administration, I am sure you will agree that, while it is somewhat challenging to explain what we do, it is extremely fulfilling and gratifying work. The AOIC plays a unique role in this regard – we not only keep the trains running daily in the state courts – we also help the Court form and implement statewide policy for the Illinois judicial branch of government.
As usual, we have numerous projects pending throughout the various AOIC divisions. The Chief Justice’s message mentions a few of these in this newsletter. But one project bears a special mention here, as it will eventually touch every court stakeholder and court user in our state – eFileIL.
You may know the history of e-filing in Illinois – the pilot programs beginning in the early 2000s, followed by the e-filing standards and principles in 2012, and ultimately the Supreme Court’s January 2016 order announcing the mandates that became our goal. I am gratified to see that so much progress has been achieved. As of September 2017, the reviewing courts are e-filing consistent with the July 1, 2017, deadline and 93 trial courts are able to e-file through eFileIL. There are more than 12,200 registered users. In August, there were over 39,000 filings through eFileIL.
Of course, the challenges of statewide e-filing are considerable and the Supreme, Appellate and Circuit Court officials and employees have logged countless hours and a tremendous amount of work to get us this far on our journey. In acknowledgement, I would like to thank each and every one of you in this court system – judges, clerks, court administrators, IT personnel, and support staff – for your tireless efforts, patience and perseverance in moving ahead with the statewide mandate. I know from reading about many other state court experiences that the growing pains we have experienced are not singular to Illinois. Notwithstanding, I am confident that we will emerge with a system that is better for all court stakeholders and users. I look forward to continued achievements as we move through this together.