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.
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.