Technical Free Copy Questions

  • When I click on the document link in my e-mail notification (NEF), why am I prompted for a login?

    There are 3 reasons you will be prompted to login after clicking the link:

    • If it is a Social Security case, you will need to enter your CM/ECF filing ID so the system can verify you are an attorney of record.
    • If 15 days have elapsed since the document was filed, the free copy has expired and you will be required to log in. You will be charged for viewing the document.
    • If the link has been used, you will be charged for viewing the document.
  • How do I save the "One Free Copy"?

    CM/ECF participants receive a Notice of Electronic Filing which is e-mail notification of activity in each of their cases. The Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) contains a link to the "one free copy" as part of the CM/ECF program. It may be advantageous for the recipient to save the document to view or print at a later time.

    The following instructions apply from the point when you view the Notice of Electronic Fililng containing the attached PDF document.

    CAUTION: To save the PDF document as described below, make sure the Acrobat Reader is opening in your Web browser, not as a separate window.

    • Click on the link to the document found in the Notice of Electronic Filing notice received within your email.
    • The document will load into Adobe Reader, or other pdf reader.
    • A toolbar with a diskette icon appears at the top of the Adobe Reader screen.
    • Click on the diskette icon.
    • A dialogue box entitled Save As appears over the document.
      • Complete the following data fields:
      • Save in: Designate the drive and directory to save the file
      • File name: Name the file. Example: Public, JQstaymotion.pdf
      • Save as type: Leave as (*.pdf)
      • Click the Save button to store the document in the drive and folder you designated.
    • You can now view or print the document at a later time.
  • If I forward an email notification I received to another individual will that individual be charged for viewing the document?

    The document within an email notification (NEF) is accessed by a hyperlink. This hyperlink takes you to a site which will allow the first viewing to be free. The first individual to click on the hyperlink within the NEF email will not be charged. If you forward the email notification without viewing the document, the recipient of the email will be able to view the document for free. Anytime after the first viewing, a charge will be incurred to view the document. The document should be saved to a local hard drive during the first viewing.

  • Will I be billed by PACER if I click on the docket sheet report hyperlink located on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)?

    Yes. Clicking on the docket sheet hyperlink found on the NEF will cause a PACER login screen to appear if you have not already logged into PACER. Once you have completed the login screen you will be presented with the current docket sheet for that case. Access to the docket sheet will result in PACER charges. For full details regarding PACER fees, go to

  • Is there an expiration with the one free look?

    Yes. 15 days from the date the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) is sent to the recipients.

  • Can an attorney's support staff receive a copy of the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) e-mail?

    Yes. Attorneys may add support staff as secondary recipients through the Maintain Your E-Mail Address screen on the Utilites page of CM/ECF.

  • Who receives the automatic e-mail notification?

    The e-mail notification goes to the e-mail address of the registered attorney of record in a case and to all secondary email accounts associated with the attorney's ECF user account.

  • How do I receive my “free copy” of a document?

    Each attorney of record in a case will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing which is delivered to the e-mail address on record with the court. Once the NEF is opened, the document control number will contain a hyperlink to a document that has been filed. One free look is available to each attorney of record .

    CAUTION: the one free look is associated with the attorneys CM/ECF login and password. If an attorney has a secondary e-mail notifications associated with his/her user account, he/she is only entitled to one free look, regardless of who looks at it first. Attorneys may list additional e-mail addresses so that members of his/her support staff can be notified of a filing. The hyperlink to access the document will expire after the first look or 15 days, whichever occurs first.

    Any time the hyperlink to a document is accessed after expiration, or the one free look, or if the user is not counsel of record, the user will be asked for a PACER login and will be subject to PACER fees. In order to avoid charges, ECF users are advised to print or save the document during the initial viewing period.

  • Why am I unable to view the free pdf document?

    1. Log in to CM/ECF as if you were going to e-file, making sure you can see the "Civil" and "Criminal" menu options. 2. Go back to the email and click on the document number (ie, 16). 3. Make sure your email program is opening the link using the same browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) as the one you used to log onto CM/ECF. 4. If you are prompted again to input a login and password combination (after following step 3), you should use your PACER account information. This is common for restricted documents. Note: If someone else, who is authorized to use your ECF User login, has already viewed the document, your one free view will have expired. You will need to log into PACER and you will be subject to PACER fees.

  • I’m no longer attorney of record in a case but I’m still receiving the e-mail notices for the case. Why?

    An attorney of record will continue to receive e-mail notifications in a case, even after updating his or her contact information with a new e-mail address, until the attorney is terminated from the case.  To terminate yourself from a case, you may need to file a notice of withdrawal or a request for approval of substitution or withdrawal, depending on the circumstances.  For further information on that subject, click here.

    If you changed your e-mail address, you may have updated "all" cases, instead of only the cases in which you are still attorney of record. Call the ECF Help Desk for assistance in updating only your current cases.

  • Are there any reasons why I wouldn’t receive my court generated “free copy” e-mails?

    The most common reason for non-delivery of court e-mails is that the email has been identified as spam either by the recipient or automatically by the user's Internet Service Provider (ISP). If a recipient inadvertently identified a previous court e-mail as spam, the ISP may be blocking email from the court. Contact your ISP to rectify this situation. Some ISPs may automatically route court email to a junk or spam mail folder. Check the junk, or spam, mail folder and mark the email from the court as "not junk mail."

    The attorney may have moved or the firm changed e-mail addresses and the attorney has not updated his/her e-mail address in the CM/ECF system. If the e-mail begins to bounce and the Court cannot contact the attorney at the address on record, the e-mail address is deleted. Counsel receive documents via U.S. Mail at the address on record.

    The attorney is not on the case docket as counsel of record.

    Recipient may be receiving a Summary of the Notices of Electronic Filing and not the Individual Notices of Electronic Filing. There are two types of automatic notification: Summary and Individual, some attorneys prefer to receive the summary, while their secondary addresses receive the individual. The summary is sent to an attorney just after midnight and contains all the activity in the attorneys cases for the previous day. Individual notices are sent each time activity occurs on a case in which the attorney is counsel of record. To change this preference, go to Utilities (on the blue menu bar) > Maintain Your E-Mail Address and change the Delivery Method.

  • Will I be billed by PACER if I access a PDF document through the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) more than once?

    Yes. Users are encouraged to save documents the first time it is viewed for subsequent access.

  • Does the one free look pertain only to the main document, or does it include all attachments?

    The one free look pertains to all attachments, as well as the main document filed.

  • What if an attorney needs to view a document more than once?

    The attorney will be subject to PACER fees every time a document is accessed after the first free look.

  • I click on the document number link and nothing happens. Why?

    If you are using AOL mail and the AOL browser, you should change the email notification from HTML to text.

    You may be using an older MacIntosh computer. Try updating the Safari browser or downloading the free Mozilla Firefox browser.

    A .pdf reader software may not be installed on the computer you are using.

  • When I click on the link in my e-mail, why do I get a blank screen?

    It is possible some of the settings on your PDF viewer are incorrect. If you are using an Adobe product, try the following: Click on Edit >> Preferences>> Internet >> uncheck Allow Fast Web View and Display PDF in Browser.