Electronically Sign Documents

65917688 ea3eb93a9011 Electronically Sign Documents

http://www.flickr.com/photos/larimdame/65917688/

Legal documents fly between parties electronically through e-mail and fax machines. Federal Courts have moved to e-filing and tax returns can be signed electronically. Now Adobe has rolled out a program that allows parties to electronically sign documents.

How it works

You upload a document to the Adobe site, and select a recipient to send it to. You can choose whether you want to sign first, or have the other party sign first. Once you have submitted the document, the other party will be notified the document is ready for them to sign.

Once the document has been signed by all parties, all parties are then notified a fully executed document is available on the Adobe server. The fully executed document contains a signature page, which shows the digital signatures of all parties, along with when they signed the document. The document is also time and date stamped, to ensure it is valid.

Possible concerns

One, whatever document you are signing at least temporarily sits on Adobe’s servers. If you are concerned about data security and/or confidentiality, this could be an issue. Two, just because you are willing to digitally sign does not mean the other side wishes to do so. That would be my bigger concern, especially given the increasing concerns about cloud computing and security issues.

For attorneys who are comfortable working in the digital realm, this seems like a nice option to have. For old school attorneys, I have a hard time believing electronic signatures will be widely accepted.

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  • Chris

    This may just be because it’s an accepted thing among attorneys, though, not because it’s anything that’s actually required by law…. I think? All 50 states have enacted laws enabling and regulating legally-binding electronic transactions. (http://www.nccusl.org/Update/uniformact_factsheets/uniformacts-fs-ueta.asp … The Minnesota Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (“UETA”), Minn. Stat. § 325L, is one iteration of these laws).

    But I dunno??

  • http://www.impirus.com Kelly Spradley

    Randall,
    Thanks for pointing out Adobe’s new service. Do you think this would be a useful feature for a lawyer to have on his website? I mean the capability to upload a document to his own website, for the purpose of getting an electronic signature from his client. We are toying with the idea of implementing that at Impirus.

  • Randall Ryder

    @ Kelly – I like the idea. As I noted above, I have some concerns about whether clients and/or opposing counsel would be comfortable, along with some possible security concerns. If it proves to be an option that people use, and it is secure, I think it is a great idea.