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[Assistant Federal Public Defender Geoffrey Hansen's] remarks, as quoted in The Recorder of Jan. 24, that when electronic filing in criminal cases goes into effect on Feb. 7, “it’s going to hit the fan,” prompts this letter. Electronic filing has been in effect in most civil cases since April 2001. While some practitioners have reported difficulties in adapting to the new techniques, literally thousands of practitioners have successfully e-filed in civil cases. Difficulties have been far fewer than the court expected. We know this because the court established an e-filing help desk to aid practitioners who encountered problems and staffed it to deal with the anticipated volume of help requests. The volume of such calls, as well as requests for help at the in-take desks of the court’s three clerk’s offices, has been substantially less than anticipated. The help desk is staffed throughout the day by someone skilled in dealing with e-filing questions. Help desk personnel are almost always immediately available. The court offers and has conducted training sessions for practitioners, and those sessions will continue. The advantages of e-filing are especially important and useful to practitioners in small firms or in solo practice, as are many criminal defense lawyers. E-filing saves time and money; it lessens the cost of service, facilitates retrieval of court documents and files, enhances organization of litigation materials and enables a lawyer in trial to file and receive documents after or before normal court hours. There is no reason to anticipate that criminal defense lawyers are less adept than civil lawyers at learning the straightforward techniques of e-filing. I’m confident that [Hansen], too, and [his] colleagues in the federal public defender’s office, will after a little practice become fans of e-filing. And, after all, learning new tricks is the way to avoid becoming an old dog. Vaughn Walker U.S. district chief judge

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