In recent years, cloud-based technology has made remote legal work more common and profitable. With the global crisis causing legal professionals to work remotely, you have likely faced more than a few difficulties while navigating the practical considerations of learning to work from home.
Many lawyers are faced with significant challenges when attempting to work remotely. We now have to adapt one of the most important aspects of legal work, signatures, to an online world.
Is it legal and possible to use electronic signatures in legal documents without being able to meet clients in person?
The answer to many questions is yes. We'll cover the basics of electronic signatures for lawyers, regardless of whether you work remotely or in an office.
The global legal services market is expected to generate $788 million in revenue by 2022. More than half of this market will be represented by the United States. Despite its enormous size, many aspects of the legal industry, including documentation and record-keeping, are still very archaic.
Many industries have seen the rapid digital transformation, especially in response to Covid-19. However, law firms have been slow to adopt digital techniques. They still rely heavily on paper and physical document storage. But why?
The reputation of law firms is what drives new businesses and clients. This often strengthens any risk-averse attitude they may have toward adopting new technology. Law firms also avoid non-billable work like installing new tech systems as it does not generate revenue.
This short-term mindset is, however a significant obstacle to future-proofing businesses against the inevitable digital wave.
The Rise of eSignatures Within the Legal Industry
Despite the bureaucratic nature of the law industry, eSignature is a digital solution that law firms are increasingly adopting. It offers many benefits for law firms seeking to improve efficiency and streamline operations.
eSignatures can be used on legal documents, contracts, and invoices. This allows law firms to communicate with clients remotely while reducing their dependence on paper documents. For those who prioritize sustainability, this is a welcome development.
An eSignature, also known as an electronic signature, is a symbol usually associated with a person's name and digitally attached to any form, document, contract, or letter. It is used to show consent. It works in the same manner as a handwritten signature on paper. Still, it gives law firms more flexibility when dealing with clients and offers many other benefits.
In 2000, the United States approved the Electronic Signings in Global Commerce Act (ESIGN). This, along with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), established that electronic signatures could be legally enforced if all parties sign electronically. Furthermore, eSignatures can legally bind virtually every personal or commercial transaction worldwide.
Benefits of Electronic Signatures for Legal Firms
The following benefits are available to law firms that offer digital signatures to their clients:
Fewer Signing Errors
Nothing is worse than having a long legal document reprinted because a client signed on the wrong line or finding out at the last moment that a signature was missing from a legal agreement. These errors can be frustrating on a smaller scale. Still, they can cause severe disruption to your legal workflow if repeated across multiple client matters.
Signing errors can be reduced if you request client signatures via an eSignature platform.
The best eSignature software can help law firms guide their clients and assist them in navigating through legal agreements. Each area that is designated for signatures by clients is marked. Clients can't sign in to a room set for them. You can also create custom fields to allow multiple signers only to sign what they have assigned.
Contrary to popular belief, eSignature technology provides more security than emailing legal agreements or using the postal service. Secure file sharing, secure encryption tools, and secure links are all used to protect client data and comply with the legal industry's strict ethical and compliance standards.
eSignatures protect client data online. Digital document management and electronic signatures can cover legal documents if they are lost, stolen, or damaged by fire, flood, etc.
Lawyers will Experience Smoother Workflows
Refrain from comparing calendars via phone tag with clients. With the right eSignature software, making in-person appointments for pen-and-ink signatures is okay.
Legal technology lets your attorneys quickly send secure client signature requests via email. Then they can move on to the next billable task.
Clients also benefit from simplified legal workflows. Clients prefer to avoid sitting in traffic to sign legal documents. Even if clients don't need to go to your office to sign, pen and ink signatures can be tedious, considering how much time it takes to scan, fax, or print signed documents.
Secure eSignature software decreases the time spent reviewing and signing documents by 40. It's no surprise 69% of respondents to a study said they would continue to use eSignature over signing in person even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Essentially, eSignature technology can show clients that you value their convenience and security.
Secure eSignature tools can dramatically reduce the time it takes to sign documents. The digital approach minimizes the time spent by attorneys collecting signatures from clients by phone or in person and decreases turnaround times by two.
Although a single sheet of paper is not expensive, office supplies can quickly add up when considering how many legal agreements lawyers need to print and reprint in a given day.
An average American office worker uses 10,000 pages of paper each year. The savings that can be made by switching to digital document management or eSignatures is significant at 5 to 15 cents per webpage. You can also help the planet's long-term health by reducing paper waste.
How to get the most out of eSignature Software?
Here is how businnesses can get most of eSignature software:
It isn't easy to understand how technology like eSignature can help your law firm. Still, it is much easier to implement it in your daily routine. To get the most from eSignature software, you must understand why it is necessary to optimize your process. Then you can implement additional tools, such as workflow automation, in law firms.
First, review your current process and identify what's not working. You should identify any bottlenecks in your law firm's processes and then think about how technology can help. You'll be able to identify the areas where delays and setbacks occur. Then you can start to see how the right software could make a difference.
Develop a Routine
Now that you know where your problems lie and how to improve efficiency, you can rethink your client intake. Establishing a better routine with software that handles all the details is the first step in getting everyone on the same page.
Some team members may be reluctant to change to a modern approach to their practice. It will take a little while for your team to realize the many benefits of a CRM and firm client intake software, such as electronic digital signatures, to change to a more modern approach to their practice. You'll be able to keep the ball rolling by creating a better workflow for your CRM software for lawyers and client intake programs.
Although eSignatures may not be new technology, some people are still skeptical about them. Some people may need to become more familiar with the technology or prefer to stay in the comfort of their own homes. It's essential to anticipate uncertainty and be prepared for some convincing.
You can advocate for this technology if you have the right information. Learn about the technology, the technical details, and the security. One of the main concerns about eSignature, according to many people, is that it's not as secure as traditional handwritten signatures. It is safer than traditional handwritten signatures. The more you explain why the less resistance your firm will face from clients.
There are many types of legal software. To get the best out of your legal CRM, make sure you have eSignature technology. You want something highly secure, so you only want to partner with companies that offer top-quality security. Clients deserve to have their sensitive data protected by state-of-the-art security measures.
Ensure your information is protected with strong security, from encryption to two-factor authentication.
First Impressions Count
Your first impressions matter. How you handle the client intake process will determine your client's expectations for their work with you. Your law firm's client intake process is crucial. Software is the best way for everything to run smoothly. You lose valuable time and effort that could be spent serving your clients by using outdated manual methods. With the right technology, such as a client-e-signature tool, you can do something that used to take a lot of time manually in just a few clicks.
Your modern approach will make you stand out from the rest by offering digital solutions such as electronic signatures for legal documents. Clients are keen to start their cases as soon as possible. The faster you can complete the intake process, the quicker you can give your clients the desired results. eSignature allows you to quickly get the documents you need signing so that your client's case can continue to move forward. You won't have to wait for your clients or make them struggle to scan and sign lengthy documents. A client intake process that utilizes tools such as legal filing request automation or eSignature to make an excellent first impression is the best way to ask less from your clients.
Tracking Client’s Important Documents
It's very difficult to keep track of every client's information without the law firm CRM and legal client intake program. It can be challenging to track crucial information and follow up with clients if your process is based on spreadsheets, emails scattered around your inbox, or papers on your desk. Lawmakers, a legal CRM, has built-in features such as eSignature that allow you to store all your essential documents in one location. After your client has signed the document digitally, it is automatically added to the database. You can access it from any place at any time.
It is easy to see which clients have returned signed contracts. This results in better organization and more accurate tracking of client journeys.
Keep Everyone on Track
Lawyers are just some of the ones who have a busy schedule. Clients also have busy schedules. With the right software, it can be easier to keep everyone on task. A legal CRM and lawyer intake software will help you know exactly what to do and send reminders for important events.
You don't have to wonder if a meaningful consultation was missed or if you signed a contract. The software provides a clear view of all the necessary information, so nothing gets lost.
Discuss Details in Advance
It is helpful to explain the process during the consultation procedure. It's better to discuss details beforehand, such as what paperwork will need to be signed and when, and what fees you'll be charging, than to have problems later. It is essential that your client understands exactly what you expect of them and that they have the opportunity to express their expectations. It reduces the chance of misinterpretation and helps to ensure a smooth transition.
Save Time with Document Automation
The best legal document automation software will make it quick and easy for your clients to sign necessary paperwork in a fraction of the time. With just a few mouse clicks, you can easily extract information from your contacts and cases and then autofill it into your document. You will save time on documents that could have taken you several days to create and get more accuracy.
Automation allows for quickly generating documentation that can be reviewed, signed, and returned with eSignature. It's easier than ever to create, sign, send, and receive documents.
Why Legal Firms Should Adapt to Electronic Signatures?
Due to jurisdictional restrictions, firm policies, or personal preference, these time-saving signing methods have needed to be faster to be adopted by the legal industry. eSignly’s mission is to modernize the legal industry by making it simple and secure to sign documents. Our platform uses the most recent cryptographic standards. It is also compliant with eSignature laws throughout the world. eSignly is a cloud-based platform that uses 256-bit encryption for client information. It also offers many features to simplify the e-signature process.
Digital signatures have been a key part of remote working, helping businesses to safely service clients and acquire new business from far away. They also allow them to continue their operations without dealing with paper and ink. Clients can sign electronic documents from their smartphones, tablet, or laptop. It's also quicker and easier.
Enhance Customer Experience (CX)
eSignly is a web-based platform that allows clients to sign documents electronically. Clients can sign documents electronically from their office or home. They can leave the paper at the post office or FedEx. They should have stamps if they drop the envelope at a local mailbox. Otherwise, you will need to purchase a roundtrip envelope. eSignly's digital signatures can be legally binding in the United States. Rest assured that courts and legal authorities will recognize your clients' signatures.
The experience for clients signing and returning PDFs via email is similar. They must print the document, sign it manually, scan it, then send it back. Sometimes it's more complex. What happens if the home printer they have is not functional? Do they have a scanner on their printer? If so, do they know how to use it?
Digital signatures can be a quick and easy way to avoid these problems and keep customers happy. Many customers have already benefited from the ease and speed of e-signature. You can email an electronic signature request to show you are current and efficient. This will help clients reaffirm their decision to trust you.
Increase Your Savings
eSignly is a paperless document management system that allows for electronic and electronic signatures. This can help law firms save up to 85% on their costs. The digital signatures of eSignly are legally binding and can also be used to sign any type or document. eSignly's e-Signature platform makes it easy for law firms to manage documents electronically without using paper. This paperless document management system is more cost-effective, easier, and more convenient. eSignly's eSignature solution allows law firms to go paperless while saving money on document handling.
Printing is expensive, considering the cost of ink, paper, printers, and other associated charges. Digital signatures can be used to sign documents for law firms without the overhead associated with traditional processes. Digital signatures are a significant first step toward a paperless workflow. The process is more organized and predictable when you consolidate the cost of document signing into one monthly subscription.
Better Workflow and Communication
The traditional paper-based method of document signing has one problem: it needs to provide insight into the location of documents throughout the process. This can prove frustrating for law firms, who might have to follow up with clients only after discovering that they have yet to receive the document. eSignly's digital signing solution gives firms visibility into the entire workflow so they can track where each document is at any time. This allows you to quickly identify and fix any bottlenecks and ensure documents move through the process efficiently. eSignly's digital signatures can be legally binding so that firms can be sure their documents stand up in court.
Digital signatures make it easier to track and organize papers. If they use an established eSignature method, law firms can track pending signature requests without additional work. eSignly has an automated follow-up function that allows users to save time while allowing them to focus on more strategic tasks.
Increase your Security
eSignly, a provider of digital signature solutions, offers advanced tracking capabilities that record the time and location of documents and who signed them. eSignly takes the following security precautions to ensure digital signatures are secure. eSignly uses 256-bit SSL encryption to protect the signer's identity and the document's content. eSignly complies with the US data protection directive.
eSignly can help law firms ensure that confidential documents of their clients are signed only by authorized individuals. eSignly's strong security measures assure law firms that the digital signing process will not be compromised.
eSignly has taken the following security measures:
- Secure data replication in near real-time and encryption of archival
- A digital audit trail with a Certificate of Compliance that ensures non-repudiation of all documents created and signed using eSignly
- 256-bit encryption
- Anti-tampering Controls
- Systematic, unalterable capture of signature data
- Digital certificate technology
- Every signer must verify their identity.
The Key Takeaway
While it is a common misconception that lawyers spend their time in court, the reality is that they spend most of their time doing administrative tasks. eSignly, the right software, takes away the time-consuming administrative work so that you can concentrate on what is most important--your clients. eSignly allows you to do what would usually take hours or even days.
You can easily input your contact information using templates and then send it to your client for them to sign. It's as simple as downloading and sending documents from anywhere you are without needing to use scanners or printers. This streamlines the process and saves both you and your clients valuable time.
Each stage of the client experience is crucial to your law firm's success. You'll delight clients by providing a seamless and professional experience that gives you more time to focus on what matters at your practice: getting your clients the best possible results.