Last week, the Northern District provided tips for opening new cases using ECF.  The most important tip seems to be that the Clerk’s office is there to help if you have any problems.  Here they are: 

  • During the initial case opening sequence, select the correct divisional office (Chicago or Rockford) in which you want to file your case.
  • If you want to practice opening a case, use the training application here, not a live ECF session. 
  • If you make a mistake while opening your new civil case, do not open a new case or complete the current case with the mistake.  Instead, exit the case opening sequence before it is complete, if possible, and call the Clerk’s Office at 312-582-8727.  They will help you correct the mistake.


  • If you have opened a case incorrectly, do not open another case, call the Clerk’s office and they can help fix the mistake in the originally opened case. 
  • If you are not sure how to open a civil case, you can find instructions at:  E-Filing Information
  • If you are not able to pay the filing fee while e-filing your initiating document, use one of the events in the Civil/Other Filings/Notices category to pay the fee.
  • When submitting a Notice of Removal, enter the Court name and Case number for the State court case. (See Step No. 35 in the instructions for opening a civil case). The parties should be added as they were named in the complaint filed in the State Court. 
  • The summons form(s)should be emailed to You should not attach them to the complaint or efile them.