1) to deposit with the clerk of the court a written complaint or petition which is the opening step in a lawsuit and subsequent documents, including an answer, demurrer, motions, petitions and orders. all of these are placed in a case file which has a specific number assigned to it which must be stated on every document. the term is used: “when are you going to file the complaint,” or “the answer will be filed tomorrow.” 2) the master folder of a lawsuit kept by the clerk of the court, including all legal pleadings (documents) filed by both sides. each document in the file must have a stamp showing the date it was received and the name of the clerk who received it. any document which is filed must be served on the opposing attorney, usually by mail, except that the first paper filed (summons complaint, petition, motion) must be served on all defendants personally (hand delivered by a process server). 3) the record an attorney keeps on a case, containing all papers deposited with the clerk, as well as all correspondence and notes on the case.