The Federal Judiciary has developed a Next Generation (NextGen) Case Management/ Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system that allows attorneys to use one account for both PACER and electronic filing access, for the entire federal judiciary. This centralized, or single sign on is particularly useful to those attorneys that practice in more than one federal court. An attorney will have one login and password. That one set of credentials will provide PACER access to every Appellate, District and Bankruptcy Court, and e-filing access for those NextGen courts that they are registered in. While NextGen is not yet available in all courts, it is anticipated that all federal courts will upgrade to NextGen by the end of 2021. The Western District of Michigan implemented NextGen on August 26, 2019.
Preparing for NextGen
E-filers must do the following in order to e-file in NextGen:
- Obtain your own individual PACER account or upgrade your existing individual PACER account
- Know your current CM/ECF login and password.
- After the Western District of Michigan installs NextGen, link your PACER account with CM/ECF (reference document).
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I know if I have an upgraded PACER account?
Upgraded PACER accounts have usernames that are at least 8 characters. If your username is 6 characters, you do not have an upgraded account. Go to https://www.pacer.gov/ and click on Manage My Account to upgrade your PACER account.
- My law firm uses a shared PACER account. Can we continue to use that account?
Each attorney must have an individual PACER account to use for electronic filing in NextGen. The law firm, however, can create a PACER Administrative Account (PAA) to manage the billing for all of the individual accounts. Click for a tutorial on PACER Administrative Account (PAA Basics). Staff members who share a PACER account only for research can continue to share.
- My practice is primarily in the Bankruptcy Court and I don't have any active litigation in the District Court right now. Do I need to do anything?
If you will not be accessing records or e-filing in the U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan, then technically you do not need to do anything. However, upgrading your PACER account now will prepare you for when the Bankruptcy Court in this District upgrades to NextGen.
- I linked my account when the Sixth Cirtuit Court of Appeals converted. Will I have to link my account again?
Yes, after the court upgrades you will need to link your PACER account to your District Court CM/ECF account before you can e-file in the District Court.
- What happens to my CM/ECF account after the court upgrades to NextGen?
After the court upgrades to NextGen, you will link your current CM/ECF account to your PACER account. After the accounts are linked you will no longer use your CM/ECF username or password.
- I'm a CJA Attorney. How do I get my exempt privileges?
Contact the PACER Service Center (PSC) at (800) 676-6856 to request that CJA privileges be added to your upgraded PACER account.
You must provide:
- Your name, username, and the account number of your upgraded PACER account. You can find this information by logging in to Manage My Account in PACER.
- The district (or circuit) in which you have been appointed to the CJA panel. In this case, the Western District of Michigan.
- The PSC will send you an e-mail with the CJA acknowledgement and instructions for exempt usage.
- Reply to the e-mail with your acknowledgment. Your CJA privileges will NOT be activated until the PSC receives your e-mail reply.
Keeping Your Account Updated
Maintaining Your Central Sign On Account (reference).
E-mail sent to registered attorneys, August 2019: Administrative Order No. 19-MS-065, regarding temporary suspension of electronic filing and service requirements and allowing paper filings on Friday, August 23.
E-mail sent to registered attorneys, June 2019: Prepare for NextGen - Western District of Michigan
Letter sent to office managers, May 2019: Letter to Office Managers
For assistance with creating a PACER account, please contact PACER at 1-800-676-6856 or visit the PACER website at https://www.pacer.gov/.
For assistance with your CM/ECF login and password or linking your account, contact the ECF Help Desk at (800) 290-2742.