Anyone who’s tried to find legal documents at the Guilford County Courthouse over the years knows what a nightmare it can be.

  Go downtown, find parking, lock your cell phone in a paid locker because you forgot to leave it in your car, enter the maze that is the courthouse in Greensboro, search for a document using the computers with the decades old interface from hell, and then, finally, give up and find a kind attorney or legal clerk who’ll help you.

Well, as of Monday, April 29, things got a whole lot easier for people in Guilford County interacting with the courts thanks to a new “eCourts” initiative that allows much of the archaic paper-driven legal record-keeping system to be replaced with an electronic system that can be accessed from a computer, a tablet or a smartphone.

On Monday, Guilford County transitioned over to the eCourts system which has made things a lot easier on area attorneys, the general public, legal clerks and criminals.

Much of the work filing a legal case, or searching for information that once required a trip to the courthouse, no longer does so. Those who work in the legal system, as well as members of the general public, will now be able to conduct smart searches at home – or anywhere else – by party name, record number, citation number, an attorney’s name or their bar number, a business name, a case cross-reference number, or a nickname.

You also can now search for court dates and hearings by case number, attorney name, a judicial officer’s name, or even by courtroom.

Also, of course, the new system will save countless trees.

There are a lot of other changes to the way the courts conduct business due to eCourts. Most of the old system was implemented in the 1980s. One Clerk of Court in the state called the former record-keeping system “archaic.”

At the Thursday, May 2 Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting, Guilford County Attorney Andrea Leslie‑Fite​​​​ took time to thank her staff and court officials who had worked very hard training on eCourts and finally taking it live at the end of the month.

She said her office had been training for the last several months but there was no way to conduct test runs by, say, using a mock version of the system before the actual system was up and running.

“On April 29 we went all in,” she said. “On Monday, we just took the plunge.”

Leslie-Fite said there were some hiccups with the mechanics of getting everything uploaded but no real major problems.