Thursday, August 2, 2018

Alert About Filing Documents Electronically with the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York

One of the important aspects of practicing law in the information age is understanding that there is a duty of technology competence.  Can an attorney get help with tasks requiring a working understanding of how to use technology?  Yes.  While tasks can be delegated, responsibility cannot be delegated.

There are a variety of approaches for dealing with this in a litigation practice.  The approach I recommend is the one I have employed in my litigation practice - being enthusiastic about learning and keeping up with developments in technology.  It is also helpful to have IT support in the form of a knowledgeable person who is available to assist; as a basic courtesy the person should be asked to block out the time to be available to assist with as much notice as possible.

There are rewards, including the satisfaction of working up legal papers and then being able to file them yourself.  Alternatives include waiting for somebody else, who will be using your password, whose actions you are responsible for, who may be tired after waiting for hours while a document is finalized for filing.  Risks include you will not communicate clearly what you want and get a result that reflects this, which may necessitate amended filings, requests for forgiveness from your opposing counsel or Court intervention.  You could also miss a deadline.  Gasp.  None of these things are the end of the world.  But given they are avoidable with some planning, isn't it best to plan?

With that, let's get into the alert that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York sent by email yesterday concerning changes to electronic filing (e-filing) procedures.  It came under the subject heading: CM/ECF Outage & NextGen CM/ECF Implementation Scheduled 10/19/18 - 10/21/18.  The word "Outage" is attention grabbing. Many lawyers, at least those not on vacation or otherwise preoccupied, likely forwarded the email to their assistants and then put it out of their minds or made a mental note to come back to them.

A risk of proceeding in this fashion is missing the message the Court sent - you will need to do something if you want to keep filing documents with the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York electronically!

The Court also advised that the electronic filing system will be down for a couple of days starting October 19, 2018 at 8:30 AM (Eastern Standard Time).

The Court's notice that was delivered by email yesterday is reproduced below by way of helping spread the word so that people within and outside New York know about it and can prepare.

My law offices have a lot of experience with electronic filing.  I worked as an employee of one of the first federal judicial districts that tested out the electronic filing system that was brand new at the time.  I have over a decade of experience making electronic filings with trial and appellate courts in my clients' cases, and have helped other lawyers by serving as their co-counsel or local counsel in New York. If you or someone you know anticipates filing documents with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York and wants to understand the changes coming into effect, I urge you to review the notice below and prepare.

I welcome comments on this blog post and questions can be emailed to me at  If I can help you, please do not hesitate to reach out.

United States Bankruptcy Court
for the
 Southern District of New York
August 1, 2018
CM/ECF Outage & NextGen CM/ECF Implementation
On October 19, 2018, at 8:30 AM (EST), the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York will take CM/ECF offline in order to update to NextGen CM/ECF ("NextGen").  As a result, e-filing will be unavailable through October 21, 2018. Parties with an October 19, 2018 filing deadline should plan to complete their filing prior to 8:30 AM (EST) that day.  Papers not filed electronically may be filed with the Court by depositing them in the night depository maintained by the District Clerk and will be deemed filed as of the date and time stamped thereon.  Any required fees for such filings must be delivered to the Clerk's Office no later than noon on the next business day. Refer to Local Bankruptcy Rule 5001-1 for further guidance  We expect the system to be available again for e-filing on Monday, October 22, 2018 at 8:30 AM (EST). The Court's update to NextGen will require filers to take steps to update their CM/ECF and PACER accounts in order to continue to file electronically.  NextGen simplifies electronic filing by combining your CM/ECF and PACER accounts into a single Central Sign-On account.  Through the PACER website, filers will use one login and password to electronically file in all NextGen courts where they have permission to file.  Filers will no longer need a separate CM/ECF account for each NextGen court.  All Federal Courts are expected to eventually adopt NextGen.  Click to see a list of current NextGen courts.
 What should I do next? 

  • Before October 22, 2018, upgrade your PACER account if you have not already done so at Each filer must have his or her own PACER account.  Shared PACER accounts will not work with NextGen.  Please note, PACER accounts created after August 11, 2014, are already upgraded accounts.

  • Beginning October 22, 2018, after New York Southern converts to NextGen, you must link each of your login accounts to your PACER account to electronically file.

Failure to complete these steps will prevent you from successfully electronically filing after NextGen goes live.
  • We look forward to assisting you in this transition to NextGen. More information is available below.                                                           
PACER          - On the web at
                         Email PACER at
                         Call PACER at (800) 676-6856

NYSB            - On the web at
                         Email us at                          Call Court Services at 212-668-2870, Option 3

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