No Pen Needed: Execute Retainers with SignMyPad


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When the iPad first launched last year, there were conflicting views on the iPad—some people thought it was lame, others thought it would be awesome.

Frankly, I wavered between thinking it would be great for client meetings and then wondered if it was really that helpful.

A new app called SignMyPad has me back on the bandwagon and ready to purchase an iPad 2.

How it works

The app lets you add a signature, date, and text to any PDF file. You can open and edit PDFs that are sent via e-mail or open PDF documents stored in Dropbox and other popular cloud storage options.

Once you open the document in SignMyPad, you have a few options for editing. You can add a signature to any part of the document. When you add a signature, a large input box appears at the bottom of your screen to allow you to sign using your finger or a stylus. Depending on your preference, you can sign in black or blue. When you are done, you can drag your signature to any part of the document. You can also easily shrink or enlarge your signature.

You can also input plain text and the program also allows a similar scaling options—bigger or smaller depending on your preference. The app can also input the date and insert checkboxes.

Once you are finished, you can either save the PDF within the application, or e-mail the completed document.

The app works almost flawlessly

Aaron and I played around with it and we were both impressed. The finger-based signature has great scaling—signatures look natural and smooth. The interface is simple and easy to understand.

It is annoying that you can access Dropbox documents but not save to Dropbox. That missing feature, however, does not undermine an otherwise great app.

Useful for client meetings

If you run a paperless law office or mobile law office or frequently visit clients at their homes, this app is a must have. Instead of carrying around retainers, you can have clients sign your iPad, and e-mail copies of the executed retainer to them and your own e-mail account. There are other ways to do this, but SignMyPad makes it very easy.

Although there are some concerns with the validity of electronic signatures, the app almost flawlessly replicated Aaron’s real signature, which should alleviate concerns on that front.

Compared to some of the other electronic signature apps I have reviewed, SignMyPad is easily the best. At $3.99, it is worth giving a shot.


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  • Just wanted to say thanks for the post. As for anyone who is listening – the ability to save back to the DropBox will be in the next big version.

  • What concerns about validity. We have the ESIGN act which is Federal, and variations on the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which is the law in most states, and the three non-adopting jurisdictions have variations on it. If we can enter into binding contracts using electronic signatures, what is the concern about “validity?” I know some people are uncomfortable with electronic signatures, but that doesn’t make them invalid.

    • Our lawyers looked this up a long time ago for us, and according to West Law – a digital signature counts a valid signature.

  • I’ve been jonesing for an iPad for a while now, especially to use for client meetings. This is another incentive for me to grab one.

    • I’m glad that an app like this helped swing your decision to get an iPad. Don’t forget to share your reasoning with your friends.

  • Pat Stoneking

    What stylus are you using?

    • Pat – on our website there is a discount link for the PogoStylus from TenOne designs if you’d like to get a stylus. But styli like cases differ from person to person, so try a few out if you can before you buy one.

  • Cameron Parkhurst

    Quick question. Is the client actually signing the retainer or are the leaving a signature on the iPad that you later drag and place in the retainer? Also, is the signature saved somewhere or is it just on the signed retainer?

    • The software allows you to input the signature directly onto the document and save it—with signature now added—as a new PDF.

    • As Aaron wrote – yes you draw the signature right onto the document. You can save the document which replaces the original, or you can do a Save As, to save it with a different name. When you click either Save or Save As – the signature is locked into the document and can not be removed or moved.

      Hope this helps

  • Debora H. Carroll, Attorney

    If you have a document in WORD format and a laptop or notepad capable of using a stylus on, just click on REVIEW at the top, then START INKING, and anyone can sign using a stylus. Then just print to a pdf and you have a document that you can paperlessly file and email to your client while they are standing there.