Modernising legal services with eSignatures

Posted by Pieter Rensburg on 03-Aug-2023 08:40:00

The legal services sector is one of the most rigorously regulated industries. Our latest industry-focused blog explores the specific challenges faced by the legal sector and how SigningHub’s eSignature solution can help solve them.

The use of electronic signatures has become increasingly popular worldwide in recent years. In particular, the legal services sector has seen a significant shift in the adoption of eSignature technology.

How to Find the Right Type of e-Signature Solution for Your Law Firm

Esignature benefits could be a primary driver for this trend, including:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Cost savings
  • Enhanced security

Challenges in the legal services sector

Solicitors face various challenges that make traditional paper-based processes time-consuming and costly.

One significant challenge is complying with various legal and regulatory requirements, including data protection laws and industry-specific confidentiality rules.

These requirements can make document handling complex and require significant amounts of paperwork. As a result, traditional methods of signing and sharing documents can be slow, lead to transaction delays, impact the environment and increased costs.

Data protection and privacy regulations

Legal professionals must ensure they are always compliant. Non-compliance can have severe consequences for the legal firm’s reputation and be costly. Solicitors must comply with various global data protection and privacy regulations, including:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) - The European Union (EU) enacted GDPR in 2018. This regulation sets out data protection rules for companies operating in the EU.

  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) - The CCPA is a US data privacy law that governs data protection and privacy rules for anyone using Californian’s private data.

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) - HIPAA is a US federal law that regulates the use and disclosure of personal health information.

  • Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) - PIPEDA is a Canadian federal law defining the rules for collecting, using and disclosing personal information.

  • Data Protection Act 2018 – The Data Protection Act is a UK law that outlines the rules for collecting, using and disclosing personal information.

In addition to these international laws and regulations, the legal services sector faces industry-specific rules around client confidentiality and data protection. These include:

  • Attorney-client privilege – A legal principle that protects the confidentiality of communications between a lawyer and their client.

  • Model Rules of Professional Conduct – Ethical rules that determine the conduct of US lawyers.

  • Solicitor-client privilege – A legal principle that protects the confidentiality of communications between solicitors and their clients in Canada.

  • The Law Society of England and Wales Code of Conduct – A code of conduct that sets out ethical rules for solicitors in England and Wales.

  • The Law Society of Scotland Practice Rules – Rules that define the ethical standards for solicitors practising law in Scotland.

Solve legal practice challenges with SigningHub

SigningHub by Ascertia is a cloud-based eSignature solution designed to help legal professionals overcome challenges associated with traditional paper-based processes. Here are a few specific ways SigningHub can help modernise your private practice:

  1. Enhanced security

    SigningHub offers enhanced security features to help solicitors protect sensitive client information by employing the latest encryption methods to protect documents from unauthorised access.

    The platform also offers two-factor authentication at login, document access authentication methods and document access duration constraints to ensure only authorised users can access documents.

  2. Non-repudiation and legality

    Thanks to SigningHub’s Advanced and Qualified Electronic Signatures, legal professionals can rest assured their documents have strong non-repudiation in a court of law.

    Esignatures make it incredibly difficult for signers to say they’ve not signed electronically. SigningHub ensures all required evidence is embedded directly into documents, with a complete signed workflow evidence report to show the actions performed and the document hasn’t been tampered with.

  3. Long-term validation and archival

    Paper-based documentation is prone to damage and loss when stored over time. Electronic signatures solve this threat by allowing documents to be verifiable months or years after signing.

    SigningHub’s functionality allows legal professionals to prove that the signer’s certificate was valid when the document was signed. Additionally, they can prove the exact time of signing using a trusted Time Stamp Authority (TSA).

  4. Improved compliance

    Ascertia designed SigningHub to aid legal services in complying with various legal and regulatory compliance. For instance, the platform offers audit trails in the form of a downloadable, independently verifiable and signed workflow evidence report that provides a complete document lifecycle history - including who signed and when.

    This feature allows legal professionals to demonstrate document retention, access and privacy compliance.

  5. Increased efficiency

    SigningHub significantly increases the signing process efficiency, enabling solicitors to complete transactions faster. The platform offers several tools to streamline document management, including customisable workflows and templates you can use to automate repetitive tasks. As a result, law offices can spend more time focusing on client needs.

When beginning your digital transformation, ensuring the eSignature solution you choose complies with the relevant laws and regulations regarding data protection, privacy, and document retention is crucial.

SigningHub is a cloud-based electronic signature solution that offers enhanced security, increased efficiency, improved compliance and the ability to work from anywhere, anytime.

Contact our team to discuss how SigningHub can help transform your private practice or law firm.

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