The world is going paperless, slowly but surely. In fact, many young people and startup companies don’t even own printers, scanners, or fax machines these days because there are so many paperless alternatives for handling everyday affairs. As an attorney, it’s inevitable that your clients will need to sign documents sometimes, from retainer agreements, to contracts, to settlement agreements and more. But it can be tough for clients to find the time to print out a document, sign it by hand, scan it, attach it to an email, and send it back. This can cause serious delays in your workflow and even lead to lost business when it comes to executing fee agreements. That’s why e-signature software is becoming so popular. In this post, we’ll cover the five major reasons why every law firm needs an e-signature solution.
1. Reduce Costs
When your office relies on paper files, you have to print constantly. If you add up all the monthly expenses from buying printers, paper, and ink, not to mention the maintenance costs, as these products tend to have frequent technical issues, it can be a significant line item on your budget.
Transitioning into a paperless law office will reduce your overhead costs significantly. Adopting e-signature software is an essential step to making this switch.
E-signature software is typically provided for a flat monthly fee, depending on the number of users who will need access. The cost can be as low as $20/month to start out.
When compared to the cost of a high quality printer, which can be in the thousands, you can probably purchase a full year license to e-signature software for less.
2. Provide a Better Client Experience
As millennials continue to account for a larger and larger percentage of the workforce, you will probably find yourself dealing with more tech savvy clients on a regular basis.
These people do everything with apps on their phones, from ordering dinner, to booking a hotel, to getting around town (with Uber or Lyft of course). They have come to expect every experience to be this easy and seamless.
Requiring these people to download an attachment, print it out, sign it, scan it, and email it back is asking a lot of them. Best case scenario, you cause some mild frustration. Worst case, they fail to get it done, and you lose a paying client.
By offering e-signatures, you can provide the effortless experience these people have come to expect and increase their overall satisfaction with your services, leading to repeat business, positive reviews, and more referrals.
3. Improve Retention Rates and Efficiency
It may not be feasible to get every document e-signed, and certain types of agreements still require a wet signature under U.S. laws.
But one type of document in particular lends itself perfectly to being e-signed, and it just so happens that every single client needs to sign it. That document is the fee agreement, retainer, or legal services agreement which formalizes the attorney-client relationship.
Executing a fee agreement is the final step of the legal sales process, but it also has proven to be one of the biggest bottlenecks to being hired. As any good salesperson knows, eliminating such barriers is key to maximizing your conversion rate.
It’s not uncommon that your potential clients are also meeting with other attorneys. Anything you can do to stand out will help increase your chances of being hired. By allowing your client to e-sign their paperwork, you can make the retention process easy and efficient and get ahead of your competition.
4. Track Progress and Automate Follow Ups
With a paper and pen signing process, you don’t have an easy way to track the status of a signature request. You attach it to an email, send it off, and that’s it.
If the client doesn’t get it back to you immediately, you have to somehow remember that it was sent but never returned, and then you have to manually follow up a few days later.
Following up takes valuable time out of your day, but if you don’t follow up at all, some potential clients will inevitably slip through the cracks. The more potential clients you are dealing with, and the more documents you have outstanding, the more cumbersome this process becomes.
E-signature software provides a much more systematic way of tracking outstanding signature requests. If you’re using a tool like Lexicata, with our HelloSign and email integrations, you can even trigger automatic follow up emails if a document has not been signed within a certain time period.
This type of system will help you keep organized, save hours of time following up, and make it much more likely that your clients will sign important documents quickly.
5. Prevent Tampering and Improve Security
When dealing with paper, you can never truly ensure that a document has not been recreated or tampered with. You also don’t have a reliable mechanism for knowing exactly which person applied their signature to the document, unless of course you witness the signing in person.
These things are certainly not common occurrences, but they are some of the inevitable security flaws of paper nonetheless.
E-signature software can help alleviate some of these concerns by providing a tamper-resistant document format, as well as sophisticated tracking mechanisms that can identify when a document was viewed, who opened the email, when it was signed, what IP address it was signed by, and more.
Of course no system is 100% secure or tamper-proof, but e-signature technology can do certain things that paper simply cannot.
Lawyers are notoriously slow to adopt new technologies, but e-signature software is rapidly catching on, and it can provide a number of huge benefits for a law practice.
The five biggest benefits of using an e-signature solution are below:
- reduced expenses by eliminating paper and ink
- a better experience for clients
- improved retention rates for potential clients
- a tracking system with automated follow ups on unsigned requests
- improved security and monitoring
If you’re interested in trying out e-signature in your law office, we encourage you to give Lexicata a try. We provide a powerful e-signature integration with HelloSign that is built on top of a CRM and matter management system, giving you all the tools you need to make document management a breeze.