Indiana Courts E-Filing On Track, Bar Exam Passage Rates Down

Sep 27, 2017

Indiana’s judicial system is on track to achieve statewide electronic filing in all courts by early 2019 at the latest.

The state’s Supreme Court justices outlined the latest information from the court’s annual report Tuesday.

Seventy percent of all new cases statewide in the last year were filed through Odyssey, Indiana’s primary court data system. That’s up from 65 percent the year before.

And Supreme Court Justice Steven David says digitized court records help streamline the work of judges, clerks, and attorneys.

“It makes you much more efficient and five minutes here, ten minutes there, three minutes there – it adds up significantly over time,” David says.

The court – through, in part, funding from the legislature – has consistently invested in spreading e-filing the last several years. And while David says there will be financial savings over time, he doesn’t yet know how much.

“It will take a few more years to shake out exactly where those are most realized and then what can be done because of those [savings],” David says.

E-filing became mandatory for all Indiana Court of Appeals cases over the past year.

But despite positive news on the technology front, Chief Justice Loretta Rush is troubled by a decline in bar exam passage rates.

The bar exam determines whether someone is prepared to practice law in the state.

The percentage of applicants who pass the bar has dropped for six consecutive years, reaching a low of 60 percent this year. And Rush says she’s worried in part because she doesn’t have an answer for why.

“I’m concerned that we have…the average student debt coming out of law school is $125,000 and then you’ve got those bar passage rates,” Rush says.

Rush says she and the court are looking at every facet of the issue, which includes law school admittance policies and broader diversity issues in the legal field.

Justice Mark Massa says, though, the court won’t consider lowering the standards for the exam.