E-Signature Could Save 3 in 4 Legal Professionals from Daily Admin

Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of legal professionals are signing documents on a daily basis, with manual admin distracting from legal practice and executing expertise. This is the finding of research by Docusign into the digital expectations of Europe’s legal leaders.

Endless Admin

Endless admin is one of the reasons behind dissatisfaction in the legal industry. When every minute must be billed and accounted for, and juniors can find themselves at the administrative mercy of in-house counsel, piles of paperwork can come to dominate the working day.

Numerous studies have shone a light on the downsides of a career in legal. Time Magazine went as far as to name being a lawyer as one of the most miserable high-paying jobs[1]. One study found legal jobs were ranked first in boredom, while another found seven in ten lawyers were interested in changing careers[2].

Accelerating Legal Agreements

Electronic signature can radically improve the signing process for today’s lawyers, allowing contracts and approvals to be signed anywhere, anytime, on any device. Signees can also delegate authority for another collaborator to sign so as not to delay the process. This not only saves huge amounts of paper being printed and piling up on desks, but means important documents can be signed on the go without lawyers having to stay late in the office or risk delaying time-sensitive agreements.

Furthermore, e-signature can be confidently considered legally binding following a further endorsement by The Law Commission — an independent body established by an act of Parliament in 1965 to examine legal developments in England and Wales — which published their Electronic Execution of Documents consultation paper supporting the validity of electronic signatures. The announcement is a significant step forward for electronic signatures. Although both the EU-wide eIDAS regulation and the Electronic Communications Act 2000 stated that electronic signatures are admissible in evidence in legal proceedings, uncertainty remained which confused businesses and halted progress.

Meet Digital Expectations

The stakes are too high for businesses not to constantly innovate and take on new processes. Not only are clients demanding more, lawyers are following suit. This is one of the findings of a study conducted by Docusign into the European consumer’s appetite for digital services. The study gives insight into the attitudes of legal teams towards electronic signature and digitising processes, and their role in supporting businesses to meet the demands of their customers and avoid digital extinction.

Other insights into legal decision makers’ digital expectations include:

  • Half of senior decision-makers throughout Europe have now taken control of their own destiny and undertaken digital projects without consulting their IT department.
  • Half of legal professionals considered their department to be hampering their company’s digital transformation.
  • 89 percent of legal professionals are keen to enjoy the same digital innovations in their jobs as they do in their home lives.

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[1] https://www.jdjournal.com/2017/04/10/surprise-surprise-lawyer-named-hig…

[2] https://www.australasianlawyer.com.au/news/4-in-5-legal-professionals-b…

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