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How to File a Case

CM/ECF (Case Management/Electronic Case Files) system allows courts to maintain electronic case files and offer electronic filing online, making case information immediately available. Courts use one of two versions of CM/ECF – NextGen or CurrentGen.

CM/ECF allows:

  • Registered filers to file federal court documents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Attorneys, filers, and organizations to reduce their paper, photocopies, postage, and courier costs.
  • Immediate access to full case information for attorneys, parties, and general public.

Use the Court CM/ECF Lookup to access the CM/ECF login page for the court in which you wish to file.

Filing Privileges & Attorney Admissions

Before you can electronically file a case, you must either apply for attorney admissions or register to file electronically with the court. Review the complete attorney admission procedures and other guidance on the website of the federal court that you are applying for admission or registering to file electronically. If you need to file in a NextGen court, you can apply for attorney admissions or register to file electronically via Manage My Account. If you need to file in a CurrentGen court, you need to apply directly with the court. Visit the court’s website for information about their attorney admissions and electronic filing procedures.

Learn how to request attorney admissions in a court using NextGen CM/ECF.

Filing PDF Documents

Documents filed electronically must be submitted as a PDF (portable document format). Each court has a maximum allowed document size. Use the Court CM/ECF Lookup to find out the maximum size allowed for the court in which you wish to file. That tool also provides other CM/ECF information specific to that court.

Refer to the frequently asked questions for other helpful PDF tips.