Linklaters introduces e-signatures to make signings more efficient

Linklaters is offering clients the opportunity to sign documents directly from their smartphone, tablet or desktop to enhance the client experience by making document signing faster, easier, more convenient and secure.

The technology behind the process, supported by third party provider DocuSign, has the potential to put an end to the time consuming practice of "printing, signing, and scanning" multiple documents, significantly reducing client time spent doing so, and meaning clients no longer need to stay in the office whilst the lawyers finalise agreements. To date, the firm has used the technology in four separate deals, with plans afoot to roll the practice out more widely. Client feedback has been extremely positive, both in respect of the speedier and more convenient alternative to traditional methods that this provides and in relation to the security that the technology affords with an audit trail that captures who signed what, when and where for every transaction. 

The process is more efficient for all involved, making the signing and post-closing processes much more cost and time-effective.

“Completing a signing in the traditional way can be a lengthy process, whereas through this mobile technology, with the click of a mouse or the tap of a tablet or smart phone, it can be reduced to minutes, whilst maintaining the formality and security of a signing” according to Mark Nuttall, a London finance partner at Linklaters who first used the new service.

“We hit upon the idea by observing how digital signatures (E-signing) are commonly used for thousands of transactions in the rental market. It was clearly applicable to our work and our business teams quickly turned the idea into reality,” he continued.

“On the back of the successful trial of this tool, we are discussing using the technology with many more clients, who are already thinking about how this might be introduced inside their own organisations as part of their own efficiency drives. Linklaters can assist by providing advice as to the legal implications,” concluded Nuttall.

To launch the initiative, Linklaters worked with a third party digital signatures platform provider, DocuSign, which allows the signatories to a document to access it securely over the internet and insert their signature in the appropriate place. This allows signatories to sign at any time and in any place from their smart phone or tablet. It is not necessary for the signatories to have an account with DocuSign themselves as they can securely access documents via a link sent in email.

The initiative is part of Linklaters’ wider drive to enhance the firm’s performance through improved efficiency. Our approach is to focus on a comprehensive set of initiatives, investing and pooling our global legal knowledge, focusing on delivery – identifying more cost effective options in the running of matters through mapping and project management and relying on a wide range of lower cost options to complement our offering, including paralegal support from our global Legal Services Centre (LSC) where appropriate.