According to a report by P&S Market Research, the international digital signature sector is poised to increase by 24.5 percent each year until 2022. This comes as no surprise, as the popularity of electronic signatures continues to grow among both individuals and organizations. E-signatures present a valuable opportunity to enhance both efficiency and customer service for any organization relying on paper contracts. This includes firms across virtually every industry, including the historically paper-heavy legal sector.
Whether serving individual clients or major corporations, law practices can leverage e-signatures to cut costs, save time, improve document security, and enhance the client experience. Here are a few of the important ways in which DocuSign can help digitally transform law firms of all sizes:
By removing the need to scan, print, or fax important documents, DocuSign can save law firms a wealth of time on administrative tasks, thus allowing their representatives to focus on serving clients rather than managing paperwork. Firms that have adopted e-signatures need not spend valuable time and money on overnight document shipping, nor must they dedicate time to soliciting client signatures in-person.
DocuSign facilitates contract creation and management for a vast array of situations. Law firms can use the digital transaction management platform to draft retention and fee agreements, power of attorney documents, and class action communications, among numerous other legal documents. It can also create templates of these documents to speed up future processes and automatically circulate final copies of completed contracts to all relevant parties. In many cases, it can increase a law firm’s overall contract closing times.
In addition to helping law firms trade their reliance on paper for improved administrative efficiency, DocuSign grants legal professionals increased visibility over their documents. The cloud-based platform allows users to view and manage all of their contracts in a single, central location, thereby reducing much of the confusion associated with managing contracts via e-mail.
Although e-mail does remove the need for paper, it can easily clutter the contract process, as lawyers and administrators must comb through multiple messages and e-mail chains to locate subsequent versions of a document. In contrast, DocuSign helps users immediately determine which documents have been signed and which contracts still require their attention. Lawyers can view real-time status updates detailing which contracts have been received, read, and signed, and can even set follow-up reminders to keep transactions moving along smoothly.
The legal soundness of its contracts is a critical consideration for any company, and as the work of a law firm is particularly dependent upon the consistency and reliability of legal processes, such businesses may be especially reluctant to venture into digital contract management. However, DocuSign facilitates electronically signed agreements that lead the digital transaction industry and, in many cases, exceed paper documents in terms of security and legal enforceability.
Electronic signatures are subject to a robust assortment of domestic and international regulations that uphold their security and legitimacy while establishing standards to facilitate cross-border digital transactions. E-signatures have been a legally-binding form of authentication in America since the passage of the Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act in 2000. The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) further defended the validity of US digital contracts by providing a framework for states to govern their residents’ online business transactions, while across the Atlantic, Europe’s new eiDAS Regulation recently replaced outdated electronic signature regulations originally enacted in 1999.
In many cases, e-signature adoption can reduce a law firm’s liability by creating a more detailed and reliable paper trail. In addition to ensuring a law firm’s regulatory compliance in the realm of contract management, DocuSign also seals each contract with a certificate of completion. Admissible in a court of law, this document not only outlines the time, participants, and additional information regarding each digital signing ceremony, but it also provides a guarantee that the document is valid and has not been tampered with. This serves as valuable compliance documentation alongside DocuSign’s nonrepudiation audit trails, which guard a detailed history of all sent, viewed, printed, signed, and declined documents.
DocuSign’s industry-leading security goes beyond regulatory standards set by the United States and the European Union, employing a robust collection of technical and local safeguards to ensure that unauthorized individuals—including DocuSign employees, never access clients’ documents. DocuSign enjoys the distinction of being the only digital transaction management company certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as an information security management system, and it partners with organizations such as OpenTrust and Comprova to facilitate secure digital transaction management throughout Europe and Latin America.
Law firms that have integrated DocuSign into their operations can confidently assert that only their intended clients and employees can access sensitive materials. The platform uses multiple factors, including e-mail, SMS, geo-location, and bank-quality encryption, to form a multilevel authentication system, while its tamper-proof storage system guards all completed contracts and audit information.
According to one law firm that recently began using DocuSign, the platform has facilitated an increase in the company’s client conversion rate by enabling it to provide and complete retention documents during initial client meetings. When a law firm implements digital transaction management processes, clients no longer have to take time out of their day to sign documents in person or send contracts through the mail—a benefit that can be especially valuable for law practices serving clients from around the world. Compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows, DocuSign blends seamlessly into the increasingly mobile lifestyles of legal clients and professionals alike, and in many cases, it can allow a firm to expand its client base while providing faster, more convenient customer service.