4 Benefits of Electronic Signatures for Lawyers

Kamran Shafii |

Although the law is a storied profession steeped in traditionalism, it hasn’t escaped the digital revolution. Legal tech — the digital tools, platforms, and software that have improved the efficiency, effectiveness, and accessibility of law services — has transformed how lawyers practice and provide services to their clients. Electronic signatures have been one of the most significant elements in this transformation. 

In 2000, Congress passed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), making an electronic signature as legally binding as a handwritten signature, allowing legal business to be conducted remotely. Since then, digital documents have only become more prevalent, and e-signatures are now the most productive way to execute legal documents. 

The Importance of Digital Signatures for Lawyers

What is an electronic signature? Although you may create an electronic signature by awkwardly trying to sign your name with your mousepad, the scrawl that results isn’t what makes binding signatures. The digital signature is actually the mathematical algorithm that connects the person signing the document with the document itself, using a digital certificate or other authentication methods. 

Unlike a paper contract, if a document is altered after it’s signed, the electronic signature automatically becomes invalid. An electronic signature solution lets you send confidential documents that need to be signed over the Internet, reducing your turnaround time and creating a frictionless experience for your clients. Read on to discover more of the benefits of electronic signatures for lawyers. 

4 Benefits Of Electronic Signatures for Legal Professionals

No one understands better than lawyers how important it is to cross your T’s and dot your I’s when dealing with contracts. By offering advanced security features and workflow automation, electronic signatures increase the accuracy and efficiency of your legal practice. 

1. Enhanced Document Security and Authentication

While data protection regulations govern many industries, lawyers are held to even stricter standards due to the duty of confidentiality. In addition to a legal duty to protect data, lawyers have an ethical duty to ensure clients’ personal information isn’t compromised. Electronic signature platforms provide increased document security and authentication with the following measures: 

  • Electronic signature technology, such as encryption or blockchain technology, connects each signature to the signer’s identity and the data of the document at the time of signing
  • Document integrity “seals” a document once it’s signed, so any attempts to alter the content of the document will break this seal
  • Audit trails that record every action performed on a document, such as viewing, signing, or modifying it, including detailed information, such as the date and time of the action and the IP address of the signer
  • Authentication and verification methods, such as email verification, SMS codes, and government ID checks reduce the risk of fraud
  • Data protection measures, such as encryption at rest and during transmission 

2. Efficient Contract Execution and Signing

The traditional, paper-based method of executing contracts is time-consuming and often involves many steps, such as drafting, printing, mailing or couriering, in-person signing, returning, and filing. This protracted signing process can take days or even weeks. Electronic signatures eliminate many of these steps by: 

  • Allowing contracts to be sent and signed within minutes, regardless of geographic location
  • Eliminating physical barriers so you can do business with far-flung clients and allow employees of your law firm to work remotely
  • Enabling you to send electronic documents to multiple parties simultaneously, so they can each sign at their convenience
  • Providing real-time information about when a document has been viewed or signed so that you can monitor the progress and legal status of the contract execution 
  • Integrating with other business tools and legal software, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems and contract management software

3. Streamlined Client Collaboration and Remote Approval

Your clients are accustomed to handling business matters online, so they will likely be frustrated if they have to make a special trip to your office to sign papers. E-signing options allow clients to sign documents remotely, offering: 

  • Ease of use: User-friendly online signature software guides the signer through the document, indicating where they need to sign or initial, simplifying the process and minimizing the risk of human errors. 
  • Improved communication: You can communicate more effectively with your clients through an electronic signature solution. Sending documents for review and approval electronically reduces the need for in-person meetings or lengthy phone calls. 

4. Time and Cost Savings in Legal Workflows

Paying your staff to deal with the extensive administrative tasks associated with physical documents is expensive and ties up their time with legal processes that can be automated. Using electronic signature providers will: 

  • Reduce paperwork from drafting and printing contracts and storing signed documents
  • Reduce labor hours spent preparing, signing, returning, and storing legal documents
  • Lower costs by eliminating the need for printing and mailing documents and the need for physical storage space
  • Reduce errors by guiding the signer through the document to avoid missing signatures or incorrect information, which can lead to delays and additional costs
  • Automate routine tasks such as creating templates for commonly used documents and sending reminders when documents aren’t signed 

Use Cases Of Online Signatures in the Legal Industry

You can use an electronic signature solution for any document that needs a signature. In the legal industry, some of the most common use cases include: 

  • Client engagement and retainer agreements: Typically, the first formal step in establishing a lawyer-client relationship is signing an engagement letter or retainer agreement. These documents outline the terms of the relationship, including the scope of work, fee structure, and confidentiality obligations. These agreements can be signed remotely with electronic signatures, expediting the onboarding process. 
  • Legal contracts and agreements: Electronic signatures allow contracts, such as a bill of sale, business agreement, real estate purchases, and employment agreements, to be signed rapidly, regardless of where the parties are located. You can send the documents for signatures electronically so they can be returned almost immediately. 
  • Consent forms and authorization documents: Consent and authorization documents, such as a power of attorney, release of information form, or settlement agreement, require a client’s signature to demonstrate their informed consent. Electronic signatures eliminate the need for in-person meetings to sign these important documents. 

Collect Signatures and Organize Documents More Efficiently

With jSign, you can bring the safety and convenience of electronic signatures to your legal practice. jSign provides legally compliant signatures with blockchain stamping that are admissible in court. Sign up today to get start enjoying the benefits of electronic signatures for lawyers and their practices.

Kamran Shafii
Manager, SEO Content

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