http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianmeidell/171910962

Electronic signatures are becoming increasingly popular. Federal courts accept electronic signatures, state courts are starting to accept them, and businesses are using them to execute contracts.

If you are considering using digital signatures for your practice, try out Echosign.

How it works

First, you need to upload a digital copy of a contract to Echosign’s website. Then, the site will send an email to your recipient. The recipient has a variety of signature options. They can sign with an e-signature. It also looks like their cursor can turn into a stylus, which allows them to “write” their actual signature in digital form. The downside with this option is that it requires a paid plan. Recipients can also print out the document and fax back an actual signature page, which is not nearly as cool.

It also looks like the site supports electronic signatures from mobile devices. Unfortunately, I cannot find any specific information on the site, other than a short reference in the demo video. That said, digital signatures from a mobile device looks quite promising.

Should you use it?

In depends. If you operate a paperless office like us, it has limited utility. If I need a digital signature, I simply scan something with my ScanSnap s1500 and email or fax it to the recipient, who can send it back the same way.

For example, if a client needs to sign a retainer, I can email them the retainer, they can sign it and send it back, and then I will sign it, scan, and send them a copy. I also do not need to go through a third-party website.

That said, if you are not incredibly tech-savvy, Echosign could be quite useful. You can do up to 5 transactions a month with a free account. After that, there are a variety of pricing plans. As noted above, if you want an original “biometric” signature that requires a paid plan.