E-Signature and Secure File Sharing Platforms? 10 Question to ask
E-signature and secure file sharing have made it much easier for attorneys to do their jobs. They make it easier and faster to get documents signed, reduce the risk of mistakes, and offer an efficient way to reduce your paper use and green up your operations.
With a multitude of e-signature products on the market, the team at Rocket Matter has created this guide to help you find the platform that works for you.
Question 1: Are procured e-signatures court admissible?
Thanks to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), electronic signatures carry the same legal weight as handwritten signatures as long as they meet the following requirements:
- Users have consented to do business electronically
- Users have demonstrated a clear intent to sign
- Signatures can be properly attributed to each signer through an audit trail
- Signatures are attached to the document that is being signed
- All signatories are provided a fully-executed, signed copy (or access to one)
Rocket Matter’s LexSign integration meets all legal obligations for valid e-signatures.
Question 2: How robust is the audit trail?
Because there are technical authentication requirements for e-signatures to be considered valid, it’s important to understand what metadata is collected by the program or platform you select and how it’s stored.
Not every e-signature platform provides the same level of documentation. For some companies, basic documentation protocols can be adequate, but law firms face a higher standard in guaranteeing the e-signatures on their documents are capable of withstanding intense legal scrutiny.
Look for programs that support and document:
- Consent of all signatories to doing business digitally
- Any opt-out or withdrawal of consent from any signees
- IP addresses of signees and document editors (if applicable)
- Date and time stamps for documentation submission, initialing, and signing
- Issuing of digital certificates
Our LexSign and LexShare integrations allow you to securely share files and track access to documents so you can demonstrate the who, what, when, and where of all e-signatures you obtain.
Question 3: How are the e-signatures verified?
Having an iron-clad audit trail is great, but it’s decidedly less great if you can’t get to it when you need it. Before signing up for a platform, ask if it supports independent verification anytime from anywhere.
Rocket Matter is an all-in-one legal practice management software that supports e-signature integrations, which allows you to communicate with clients, send invoices, and finalize legal documents from a single interface.
Question 4: What other security features are available?
Attorneys have both legal and ethical obligations to protect their clients’ sensitive information. With data breaches on the rise, it’s time for law firms to get serious about cybersecurity.
One of the best ways to secure data is to implement permissions that limit access to the minimal amount of data needed to complete a task. Look for programs that come with native role-based or permissions-based access controls.
Rocket Matter and LexSign offer best-in-class security for all legal practice management workflows.
Question 5: Does it have secure file sharing capabilities?
Secure file sharing, with or without a client portal, is an important technology for law firms even if you aren’t getting e-signatures. But when it comes to signatures on legally binding documents, secure file sharing is a must-have.
You need to use an e-signature solution that ensures documents:
- Cannot be tampered with after signatures are obtained
- Cannot be accessed by unauthorized persons
- Have a clear log of when they are accessed and by whom
Rocket Matter has one of the most effective and efficient document automation and organization tools available in online legal practice management software.
Question 6: Does it support mobile, tablet, PC, and desktop use?
This seems like it should be common sense, but there are programs out there that don’t work on mobile devices and tablets. To fully realize the efficiency gains e-signatures offer, you need to make sure your platform works wherever and whenever.
Rocket Matter’s app is iOS and Android compatible, and so are most of our integrations.
Question 7: How easy is it for clients to use?
It doesn’t matter if you have the most technically powerful, secure e-signature technology in existence if your clients won’t use it. While portals can be a powerful tool for organizing your team and your legal matters, they aren’t always very popular with clients.
The most effective e-signature platforms have email integrations that let you send documents and receive e-signatures securely via email. Some allow you to use your own branding (logo, font, color, etc.), some don’t, but finding one that supports email e-signature will simplify the process for your clients, your admin staff, and you.
With Rocket Matter’s LexSign integration, you can send and receive signatures using either our professional templates or your existing branding.
Question 8: Will it integrate with my other practice management platforms?
Time is the most valuable resource in a legal practice, and because lawyers are always looking for more of it, we always recommend selecting an e-signature platform that integrates with your practice management software.
The time lost switching back and forth between applications may seem insignificant—a few seconds here, a minute there—but when multiplied across your team, it starts to add up. If your team can do everything from billing to document management to case collaboration to e-signature collection from a single interface, you can save hours of valuable time that would be better spent on other things.
Rocket Matter is the first all-in-one, online legal practice management software and we excel at integrating with the programs lawyers use most. With a wide range of robust integrations, the odds are high that we can work with the platforms that are already working for you.
Question 9: How easy will it be for my team to learn/customize?
There are several reasons you need a program that doesn’t require a steep onramp for your team.
First of all (and we don’t know how much harder we can hit this), effective time management is critical to succeeding as a firm. Every program has a learning curve, but if you’re going to have to close your office to get everyone trained, you might want to look for something with a more intuitive interface.
Also, out-of-the-box programs usually come set at a baseline that won’t work for everyone. Companies know that, and good platforms will provide ways to customize some of the workflows, communications functions, and reporting capabilities. These customizations can be game-changers, but only if they don’t require a skilled coder to execute.
Don’t be afraid to take advantage of free trials for several programs before agreeing to a long-term contract for an e-signature service.
We regularly encourage firms to look at multiple options because we know Rocket Matter won’t work for everyone. Having said that, we’re confident our product can be optimized to meet almost anyone’s needs.
Question 10: What type of customer support is provided?
Needing technical support for a software product is like death and taxes—it’s an inevitability. For legal matters, which are often time-sensitive, it’s important to be able to get help and find a resolution quickly.
When you’re looking at e-signature platforms, be sure to ask the following questions:
- What hours is support available? What about holidays, weekends, etc.?
- Is there a dedicated support team or will you be talking to sales reps/generalists?
- Is there a self-service option?
- What channels (chat, text, phone, onsite, etc.) are available?
- Are support services free or are there extra fees associated?
Rocket Matter has a robust library of videos, FAQs, and articles on our site that answer many of the questions we often receive. We also have multiple support channels that provide instant feedback.
Bonus Question: Is it affordable?
E-signature technology is important for modern law firms, but it isn’t the only technology your firm needs. As one piece of your IT infrastructure, look for a platform with a good cost-benefit ratio.
Rocket Matter’s LexSign integration gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Not only will you get secure, easy-to-use e-signature functionality, but you’ll also get powerful tools to help manage your cases, calendars, accounting, and communications for one low cost.
Sign on the dotted line