March 12, 2012
Customer Education Key to Success
WHITE PLAINS, NY: Technology improvements have brought major efficiencies to the Office of the Westchester County Clerk. The Legal Division, which handles hundreds of filings a day, is now receiving over seventy percent of its new cases electronically, saving time and money for taxpayers. The challenge was to smoothly transition the legal profession to this new way of doing business. This was accomplished through careful planning and a strong educational program.
“Our goal has been to make government easy,” shared Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni, “and that means not only improving our systems but also making sure our customers are comfortable using them.” The electronic filing of Westchester Supreme Court filings has expanded in stages over the course of the last year, with the Clerk’s office playing a major role in the transition. While the office is proud of the number of electronic filings received, the number of customers trained is a source of pride for the County Clerk’s e-filing team too. Since January of 2011, one thousand two hundred and seventeen (1,217) customers were trained by the Office of the Westchester County Clerk in the use of the New York State Computer Electronic Filing (NYSCEF) system, through which filings are submitted to the Clerk’s office.
On Wednesday, March 7th, the Westchester County Clerk’s Office joined with the staff of the Ninth Judicial District to host a NYSCEF Training Class for Tax Certiorari attorneys in the Westchester County Courthouse. The class provided Continuing Legal Education credits to attorneys in attendance and was open to attorneys and their support staff. Earlier this year, the electronic filing of new tax certiorari actions, as well as foreclosures, became mandatory in Westchester County and the filing season for this type of action opened in March.
Over the past fourteen months, local attorneys have been trained to file commercial, contract, and tort cases, relieving a tremendous load on County Clerk staffing. Attorneys can access the system twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and no longer have to travel to White Plains to file papers in electronically filed cases.
Over the last few years, the County Clerk’s Office has launched new systems aimed at improving accessibility and service. Westchester Records Online allows online records searches from any location with an internet connection, court records and Uniform Commercial Code statements can be electronically filed, and the PREP System allows users to track their land records filings in real time through each step from intake to recording. The launch of each system was supported by training by the Westchester County Clerk and his staff. County Clerk Idoni spoke to county-wide and local bar associations throughout the county. In addition, County Clerk staffers taught classes in training rooms near the White Plains Office.
For more information on electronic filing, visit www.WestchesterClerk.com and choose “Legal Division” and then “E-Filing in Westchester” or call (914)995-3070.