18 May, 2012
The use of electronic technology in the legal profession is not new. Large and small law practices are using computers for legal research, management of client cases, and tracking of working hours, as well as exchange of relevant disclosed information including police / medical / financial reports. Nevertheless, even today, dealings with legal representatives require a large amount of paper handling for all parties involved.
Georgina Dent’s article in the Financial Review (10 May, 2012) explored the transition to electronic processes with legal corporate practitioners who identified and acknowledged the additional advantages of using the advanced technology, among them the streamlining of transactions, improved communication, accessibility, and simpler and shorter business processes. However, they also identified the need for more formal reforms by regulators and governments, and most importantly, a shift in mindset.
While regulations for the signing of electronic documents were established in most countries worldwide during the last decade (Electronic Transactions Act in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, China, and the European Union), it is sectors such as real estate, recruitment, finance, healthcare, and local government rather than legal firms that regularly incorporate the use of electronic signatures and signing of documents online, and enjoy the benefits described above. This happens mainly due to their security worries, particularly with the Public Cloud environment.
A solution that satisfies their concerns lies with the User-Based PKI digital signature technology. The technology provides each user with a unique signing key (Digital ID) that is accessible only to that user. The signed document is sealed, and any changes made to the document invalidate the signatures. With the Secured Signing solution, the signed document can be verified either on the free Verification Service, or offline, for long-term archiving, anytime at the user’s Desktop.
“As an owner of two law offices 700 kilometres apart, Secured Signing enables me to keep our files flowing in real time – quickly, securely, and efficiently, whether I happen to be in one office or the other.” Robert Riopelle, Lawyer, Managing Partner, Riopelle Griener, Professional Corporation
Till next time,