The age of the internet has brought exciting new advances to almost every aspect of our lives, including the way we do business. Several developments in recent years have made the running and organization of a law firm simpler than it has ever been, not the least of which is the rise of e-signature use. Previously a lawyer could wait two weeks or more for a client to receive and sign a document. With e-signatures, a signed document can be returned in mere minutes. As the presence of technology in law firms increases, the advantage of using e-signatures becomes more and more relevant.
E-signatures are just as the name would imply; signatures made to documents not by means of paper and pen, but by computer or phone and signature pad. The disadvantages of only sending documentation by paper and post are numerous. From taking too much time to taking up too much space, firms are recognizing that moving to electronic-based signing methods makes the most sense both logically and economically. Below are the three main advantages to making the leap into e-signatures:
Time Saved = Actions Gained
We live in an era where business moves quickly and no firm can afford to sit around and wait. Often, the time lost waiting for a client or counsel to sign a document can go unnoticed. For example, the time spent waiting for a client to sign a traditional paper medical release form could be cut down by days thus negating the possibility of a case stalling during the interim. Firms that take advantage of e-signatures can send the document directly to their client via a third-party service and within hours (or even minutes) have a signed release returned to them.
Recouping the time lost waiting for an important document, be it a settlement agreement or a medical release form, can be invaluable for your firm. It can translate into more time available for researching medical records for other clients in the event a settlement is reached and signed within days instead of weeks.
Less Waste & Risk = More Reward
When it comes to cost efficiency, e-signatures triumph over traditional paper, which is becoming an unnecessary expense for law firms who are making the leap into a paperless operation. This switch also allows your firm cut ties with postal services and avoid some of the human error involved with document delivery.
Unforeseen errors can become a detriment to the timeliness of document delivery. According to the USPS, the amount of mail deemed undeliverable as addressed is 4.7%, excluding deliveries lost in transit. Should these issues arise, it can cause serious delays for your sensitive commutations. Anything from sending the wrong document to using the wrong address can become problematic— coupled with the typical delivery cycle of US mail, the issue may become exacerbated.
Security as a Top Priority
Clients entrust their attorneys with a substantial amount of personal data. It’s wise to not risk a breach of any kind that could potentially occur because of a mislabeled address or erroneous delivery.
When using e-signatures there is no need to worry about documents landing in the wrong hands. The encryption that protects your documents sent through e-signature hosts works to ensure your client’s information is always secure. The encryption provided requires the recipient to provide a piece of information such as a social security number, a set password or use a two-way authentication application. This way, the intended recipient is the only one reading your sensitive documents.
Ready to Make the Switch?
The profession of practicing the law dates back hundreds of years, and as such, some practices have become very engrained. But working to bring your firm into the 21st century will help save you time, money and stress. Below are four e-signature products on the market and some of the features they offer:
- DocuSign: One of the most prominent e-signature companies on the market, DocuSign, boasts that its solutions cater to many different facets of business, including law firm focused solutions. Be it on a PC, tablet or smartphone DocuSign has it covered with applications on almost any device. DocuSign offers some of the best security of any e-signature service on the market to help secure both your firm and client data. With customizable features, a friendly user interface and top-of-the-line document security features, DocuSign is a front-runner for e-signature services.
- SignNow: Another highly reputable e-signature provider used by industry leaders around the globe, SignNow provides e-signature services and other amenities with law firms in mind. With the ability to archive signed documents within the interface itself, along with the ability to collaborate through the application across any device, SignNow has versatility most e-signature hosts do not.
- Adobe Sign: An e-signature software brought to you by an industry veteran Adobe, Adobe Sign can integrate seamlessly with cloud services such as Google Drive and Dropbox. With access to applications on both Android and iOS, convenience is paramount in Adobe Sign. While it does not allow for customization like other e-signature software, the user interface is simple and easy to understand at a glance. For document transfer with convenience and security as its priority, Adobe Sign is the software for your firm.
- HelloSign: One of the simplest e-signature softwares, HelloSign’s straightforward nature is also one of its strong suits. Its minimalist design makes even the most technologically challenged person feel like they are in control. With a suite of add-ons, such as Google Docs integration and document edit notifications through email, HelloSign keeps you, your employees and your clients on the same page via systems you have already been using.
Counsel Financial does not promote or endorse any particular e-signature product. Be sure to research your options carefully and consider all ethical concerns before employing the use of u-signatures.