eChecks and eCourt

The most recent issue of the Capitol Insider reminded bar members that OJD eFiling now accepts electronic checks (eChecks) as a payment method.  You can setup an eCheck account at the OJD HTML 5 eFiling Site.  (If you’re still using the “Silverlight” version of OJD eFiling go here.)

What are eChecks?

The term “eCheck” attempts to lend a familiar name to a new(er) process, but the descriptor also leads to confusion.  

What eChecks are not

  • eChecks are not “checks” in the traditional sense. 
  • They require no special setup.
  • There is no cost to using eChecks.
  • You don’t have to visit your bank to start using eChecks.

What eChecks Are

  • A way to send electronic payments directly from your bank account.
  • Equivalent to electronic transfers or ACH payments.
  • Used by merchants like PayPal.

What do I need to know to pay by eCheck?

If you have a bank account and know your routing and account numbers, you can pay by eCheck.


eCheck payments generally clear within 24-48 hours.

Are there any advantages to using eChecks?


  • The May issue of the Capitol Insider reports that using eChecks will “keep costs down and limit future increases in filing fees.” This makes sense because eChecks eliminate credit card processing fees. Paying by eCheck is free to both parties – the payor/eFiler and the payee/OJD. It is a bank-to-bank transaction.
  • Bookkeeping will be simpler for OSB eFilers. Paying eFiling fees by credit card requires the extra step of reconciling your credit card statement to your eCourt account. And there is also the matter of billing. Even if you bill or post a filing fee expense to your client’s account when it is incurred, this only improves the timing of your reimbursement – it doesn’t shorten the accounting steps.
  • You now have the flexibility to easily use your trust account as a source of paying filing fees. (A debit card tied to your trust account is also permissible, but be sure to take proper steps to protect client funds.)
  • Lawyers who don’t have credit cards won’t be forced to get one just to use the OJD eFiling system.
  • Lawyers who can’t get credit cards will no longer be penalized.
  • Firms won’t have to set up special reminders to renew or update credit card information in OJD eFiling accounts, since routing and bank account numbers never expire. Do remember to update your payment information if you change banks!

Do you currently have a debit or credit card dedicated to paying eCourt filing fees?

If yes, and you make the switch to eChecks, quit using your debit or credit card for eCourt filing fees. This starts the process of closing your account. Verify that all pending transactions have been processed. Reconcile your final card statement, bill clients, then wait an additional month before you direct your bank or processor cancel your account. There should be no more debit or credit activity during this time. Assuming all transactions are accounted for, close your account. Remember to delete your debit or credit card from the OJD eFiling system.


If your debit/credit card is used for other purposes beyond paying eCourt fees, ignore this advice.

How do I set up eCheck payments?

Users can create an eCheck payment account under Payment Accounts in FIRM ADMIN. If you need help with this process on the HMTL 5 site, download the Firm Administrator Guide 3.15 available here.  You can also get help with this step from the vendor, Tyler Technologies:

New Terms of Use

With the addition of eChecks as a payment method, the OJD and Tyler Technologies Terms of Use have been updated. View the new TOU here

All Rights Reserved 2017 Beverly Michaelis

The Best Legal Blog Posts of 2016

2016-word-cloudIf you’ve followed my blog for a year or more, you know I generally publish a “Year in Review” post.  This December I thought I’d take a slightly different approach. Instead of a comprehensive list, I’m filtering it down to my personal favorites. And while it may be controversial, I’m calling this compilation The Best Legal Blog Posts of 2016.  There is plenty of good stuff out there, but this is the best that has appeared here.  Mostly my content, but also sourced from other great writers.

Client Relations

eCourt and court procedures






Time Management

All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis

Stop Scams With Fraud Protection Services

Posted today on the Professional Liability Fund Web site for your consideration:

Don’t Get Scammed!  Consider Fraud Prevention Services

If you are concerned about fraudulent activity on your IOLTA or business bank account, ask your bank about fraud prevention services like Positive Pay and Automated Clearing House (ACH) “block and filter” for automated transactions.

Do Checks Presented for Payment Match the Checks You Wrote?

With Positive Pay, the bank customer transmits electronic files of the checks it issues to the bank. The bank then compares the checks presented for payment with the electronic file sent by the bank customer.  If a check presented for payment does not match, the customer is notified immediately.

Has a Payee’s Name Been Altered?

Payee Positive Pay provides additional protection by helping bank customers detect and prevent alteration of payee names on checks.  The customer provides the bank with a list of approved payees.  Deposited checks and checks presented at the teller line are compared and verified against the approved payee list.  The customer is notified of any non-matching payee names.  Reverse Positive Pay (RPP) is also available. With RPP, the bank generates an electronic file of all items paid on a daily basis.  The customer receives the file and compares the paid items with the customer’s own records.  In the event of a discrepancy, the customer can inform the bank in time to make a return decision, i.e., the customer can instruct the bank to dishonor the check.

Do You Want to Block or Control Automated Transactions Posted to Your Account?

ACH block and filter services provide this protection.  With “block and filter” the customer can:

  • Set criteria to authorize ACH debits or credits to the customer’s account
  • Exclude specified ACH debits or credits
  • Block all ACH debits
  • Block all ACH credits
  • Block both ACH debits and credits

Are Fraud Prevention Services Right for Your Law Firm?

When assessing whether fraud prevention services make sense for your firm, consider the following:

  • Do you or a trusted, authorized staff person have the time to generate and review electronic reports for potential non-matching transactions?  (Unauthorized ACH transactions must be challenged within 24 hours.)
  • Can your system generate the electronic files needed for transaction comparison?  If not, does your bank offer compatible software, and at what cost?
  • Are you willing to pay for fraud prevention services?  Banks offering Positive Pay, Payee Positive Pay, Reverse Positive Pay, or equivalent services generally charge per transaction or item presented.

At the very least, it is worth talking to your banker and reviewing the services your bank offers.

Copyright Beverly Michaelis