[Special Legal Interview] Electronic review and approval of documents in the law office. It’s no longer just a luxury.
We recently spent a few minutes with Foley & Lardner LLP Senior Counsel Adam Losey discussing the advantages of electronic signature both within his firm and in the broader legal market. He is well suited to explore this growing and important area. In one of his LinkedIn recommendations a colleague states: “[Adam] has a deep understanding of electronic discovery and data preservation issues, and has developed a substantial body of written work and presentations in those areas.” Additionally, Adam is an especially interesting person to discuss eSignature with because, unlike most attorneys who use eSignature in their transaction practice, Adam is an experienced litigator and can speak to eSignature’s evidentiary value.
Question: Adam, how would you describe your firm’s stance on digital tools?
Adam: We pride ourselves in the use (and development) of all sorts of technological solutions to increase our efficiency and enhance the Foley client experience. We have developed several tools internally that we offer to clients and are constantly looking for new or modified solutions to make life easier and less expensive for clients.
Question: How has the move to digital creation and processing of legal documents impacted your firm?
Adam: It’s very positive. We’ve been able to help our lawyers and staff perform transactional and document management tasks more efficiently and with a more detailed and effective record. But more importantly, the automated and dependable processes are helping to mitigate the potential litigation risks associated with clerical or other errors.
Now we’ll get into some nitty-gritty info on legal validity:
Question: How would you define a fully authenticated document and/or signature?
Adam: An authentic document is one backed with evidence sufficient to support a finding that the document is what the proponent claims it is. In the context of electronic transactions and signatures, my preference is to have automated records of execution accompanied by substantial proof of the executing party (such as an IP address, a username/password requirement, and other metadata associated with execution).
Question: How would digital business shore up any doubts over the validity of documents?
Adam: Two things can help shore up doubts over document validity:
- Diligent evaluation of the processes used in the drafting and execution of documents, as well as the records retention associated with those documents
- An analysis of the laws and regulations applicable to the specific documents
Next, how Foley uses DocuSign, as an example of digital technology:
Question: You use DocuSign as part of your digital document management strategy. How have eSignatures positively impacted you and your clients?
Adam: In a project involving the execution of several hundred time-sensitive agreements in a large matter, DocuSign’s bulk send and follow-ups saved what I estimate would have required substantial paralegal and attorney time—sending out, monitoring, and following up with recipients. In this one project alone, the ability to harness technology to automate the transactional functions provided a substantial and immediate return on investment.
Also, we use eSignature to process new client engagement letters and we see two immediate benefits:
- Clients who prefer signing electronically can do so via smartphones or other mobile devices
- Document turnaround is much quicker
Question: Thank you, Adam, for your time in answering these questions. Do you have anything to add?
Adam: Just that our firm has spent a lot of time considering and exploring the legality and acceptance of electronic-based transactions. We are always ready to help others understand this new world, as well.
Adam Losey is senior counsel with Foley’s Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution and Information Security & Privacy Practices in the firm’s Orlando, New York, and Washington, D.C. offices.
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For quick downloads of a recorded webinar, ebook, and case law review of electronic signatures, visit http://dtm.docusign.com/legal-teams