As enterprises and small businesses alike adjust their business plans to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, many law firms and solicitors are prioritizing electronic signatures as a first step in their digital client journey. Faced with the pressure to move away from paper-based processes, lawyers are turning to e-sign, a small yet critical component, to help achieve end-to-end digitization, enhance client journey, and maximize workflow efficiency.

For over two decades, e-signature solutions have grown in popularity with many vendors popping up in the marketplace, including eSign 365, DocuSign, Adobe Sign, SignNow, HelloSign, SignEasy, DropBox, BoxSign, RightSignature, eSign Genie, ever sign, PandaDoc. With so many options, how do you stack up all the vendors to determine which solution is best for you? If you’re also considering e-signatures in your digital transformation initiatives, it’s important to select the best e-signature solution that will meet your law firm’s needs – today and tomorrow.

Electronic Signature vs Digital Signature Software

Before exploring key criteria, let’s clarify some terms. Though electronic signature and digital signature are sometimes mistakenly used as synonyms, they are distinct concepts.

An electronic signature is a digitized version of the handwritten signature used for centuries and millennia. It represents the consent of the signer to be bound by the terms of the signed contract. As a digital process, electronic signature provides numerous advantages over their handwritten alternative including better document management, the ability to streamline business processes, and a superior client-friendly signing experience.

A digital signature, however, is a less intuitive term. It refers to the encryption/decryption technology used by electronic signature software. The digital signature is used to prevent individuals from tampering with a digital document after signatures have been applied. Generally, the leading eSignature providers leverage digital signature solutions and functionality as part of their larger e-signature solutions.

What are the Key Things to Consider When Selecting the Best eSignature Software?

1. Flexibility

Does the e-signature solution provide enough flexibility to support your law firm’s growing needs? Often solicitors will deploy an eSign taken to one department but will eventually expand their use across the practice.

Consider the following when evaluating e-signature flexibility:

~ Multiple deployment options: Does the electronic signature solution enable your practice to deploy e-signatures in a public or private cloud, or on-premises, behind your organization’s firewall?

~ Multiple ways to consume: Does the solution offer the option to automate the signing process by integrating e-signatures into your applications? Does it allow you to use e-signatures in a non-integrated or user-initiated way? Can you use a standalone mobile app on iOS and Android devices or a SaaS application? Are features limited? Can you still sign unlimited documents?

~ Multiple authentication methods and security options: Does the solution support multiple authentication methods to validate your signer’s identity including SMS OTP and identity verification? Does it support a combination of multiple authentication methods for two-factor authentication or multifactor authentication? Does it offer an audit trail for signed agreements capturing key signing events like authenticating signers, time spent on a document, who signed, and where? Are signed agreements tamper-sealed after each person has signed, guaranteeing document integrity?

~ Multiple devices: Does the solution provide an optimal experience across different devices such as laptops, desktop computers, tablets, mobile devices, and smartphones?

~ Global support: Does the solution support your e-signature needs on a global scale? Does it support the functionality to sign documents in multiple languages? If cloud storage is preferred, does the vendor have worldwide cloud locations for data residency?

~ Multiple channels: Does the solution enable you to optimize user experience via multiple channels such as the Web, retail, call center, or out in the field?

~ Multiple pricing plans: Does the solution offer a cost-effective pricing model that aligns with your business needs? Are there paid plans and free plans? How limited is the functionality of the signature platform between the available plans? Does the provider have a reputation for inflating the price at the time of renewal? How is pricing determined for a single user compared to multiple team members?

2. Custom Branding

Does the e-signature solution enable your law firm to maintain its brand throughout the e-signature process? Customization is key in reducing abandonment rates, and a fully customized e-signing process helps build client trust in the digital transaction and leads to achieving high adoption rates.

3. Ease of use

One of the key benefits of e-signatures is signing documents in real-time, but this advantage can be undercut by a software solution with a poor user interface or user experience. Is the e-signature solution simple to use for all users? Is it accessible and easy to use for everyone that sends signature requests and signs business documents? Is it easy for IT professionals to develop and administer? If a user wants to use an image of their handwritten signature, is uploading a hand-drawn signature a challenge? Leading e-signature solutions will also include a drag-and-drop document builder feature that will allow your team to quickly assemble documents for signature.

4. Compliance

Verify 365 eSignatures are designed to align with major regulations and requirements around the world. Does the e-signature solution comply with all signature types outlined in major e-sign legislation, such as eIDAS, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) or the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act)? In addition, be sure that your e-signature solution complies with industry-specific standards related to your use case. For example, how will your e-signature solution align with HM Land Registry requirements in a conveyancing process?

5. Integration with Case Management Systems

Does the e-signature solution offer APIs and fully supported SDKs, enabling the development staff to rapidly deploy integrated solutions? Do they offer pre-built connectors for popular cases management systems like Actionstep, sample code, and support for the development team? Do they charge additional costs for development environments?

6. Automation and Process Efficiency

Are you able to enforce business rules throughout the signing workflow? Is the solution robust enough to allow for optional processing steps such as flexible data capture, document insertion, and multiple signature options? Can the solution support complex automated document workflows? Does it have a bulk send feature? Furthermore, the solution should make use of reusable templates that will help your team streamline document creation.

7. Verify 365 ID Verification

Does the e-signature solution offer ID verification to validate known and unknown customers? Does the solution allow you to leverage a mix of existing and new technologies that mitigate the risk of fraud?

Why use Verify 365 eSignatures?

In addition to the criteria above, it’s also important to select a vendor like Verify 365 that has experience in the legal sector and deep knowledge of your industry’s unique needs.

Do your due diligence by researching the vendor’s reputation and success among its existing clients – you want to partner with a vendor who is truly invested in the success of your e-signature project.

Whether digitizing your client onboarding process, improving your document tracking, or elevating your client experience with a paperless process, you should consider Verify 365 eSignatures.

For more information, contact us.