A law firm has to manage a vast number of documents every day. Organizing these documents in the traditional way not only increases staff’s workload tremendously but also leaves law firms more vulnerable to security breaches. Moreover, printing all these documents is expensive and bad for the environment. Plus, having all signers come to sign a document is an expensive organizational nightmare, and wet signatures are more prone to signature forgery.
Fortunately, electronic signature software can solve all these problems. In addition to secure online document storage and organization, signatures are just a few clicks away, protected with several security measures to prevent falsification.
Recommended e-Signature Software for Law Firms in 2023
Beyond this, users can create legally binding e-signatures and there are numerous ways of protecting documents, such as encrypting folders and securing them with passwords. Attorneys will never be short of templates either, as pdfFiller offers an immense library of forms.
If that’s not enough, the software integrates with US Legal Forms – a database of countless state-specific legal documents. The company has a unique take on pricing, too, as it’s not only affordable but also offers a tempting 180-day money-back guarantee.
Working with clients is similarly convenient since a document can be sent to multiple recipients, deadlines and reminders can be set, and a contract’s progress can be tracked through audit trails.
Moreover, SIGN.PLUS is a cross-platform solution that transfers documents and signatures between devices, while its mobile app can be used to scan a printed contract and sign it digitally. While a bit pricey, the software can be used for free, mainly for self-signing.
It’s no surprise at this point that signatures created with jSign are legally binding and the platform is compliant with regulations like HIPAA. Document management is also made easy with the software, as it supports numerous file formats, lets users insert custom signature fields, and provides envelopes for bulk-sending documents. Finally, jSign does all this for reasonable monthly prices.
How To Choose an e-Signature Provider for a Law Firm
Deciding which software to go for is no small task, but knowing what to look for is a good start. Above all, signatures must be legally binding so that contracts are admissible in court. Furthermore, the software has to support a wide array of file formats, including Word documents, Excel sheets, PDFs, and image files for scanned contracts.
With that in mind, the ideal software should offer several customization options. This means a variety of signature types and comprehensive document editing tools. While the platform will never compete with a dedicated text editor, it’s imperative that adding signature fields is easy. Additionally, the platform must offer strong security and privacy measures to prevent signature tampering and should be able to track a document’s status through audit trails.
Since a law firm uses numerous forms daily, the chosen provider should give users the option of saving reusable templates. It’s even better when it provides access to pre-made forms or an online library of forms. It’s also handy when the software supports various integrations, such as an invoicing program. Finally, there should be various pricing options for different sizes of law firms.
Is Electronic Signature Software Secure?
E-signature providers must follow strict privacy regulations. Besides privacy acts like GDPR, companies follow the ESIGN act in the U.S. and the eIDAS act in Europe. Additionally, some countries have their own e-signature laws, such as ZertES in Switzerland or PIPEDA in Canada. Electronic signature software is often compliant with additional regulations, too, such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOC 2 Type II.
The most important measure they take regarding cybersecurity is to encrypt all documents. Storage protection changes from provider to provider, but most companies have methods like file and folder encryption or password protection in place. Alternatively, they may take an easier path by not storing documents at all. When it comes to securing their users’ accounts, e-signature platforms typically offer two-factor authentication.
Companies also make sure that file sharing is as safe as it gets. For one, it’s rare to find an e-signature provider that doesn’t supply audit trails that track a document’s status, which outlines who it’s been opened and edited by, their location, and whether they’ve signed it. Most companies issue completion certificates that contain this information, as well.
Additional Document Management Tips for Lawyers
When all the information you work with is confidential, extra precautions must be taken. It’s a helpful first step to store everything digitally and sort documents into specified folders. This includes scanning physical documentation and adding these copies to the system. Everything should be categorized carefully and these practices should be followed by everyone across the firm.
When storing documents, make sure to protect all folders with passwords. Having healthy password hygiene by not reusing passwords and by switching to more complex ones is also essential. Moreover, it’s worth controlling employee access to documents, as not everyone should have the same level of authorization. Finally, always have backups on an external hard drive or safe cloud storage.