How Legal Are Electronic Signatures?

Earlier in the month, we shared the findings of a survey conducted by Adobe that showed that paperless contracts continue to remain out of reach for most companies. One reason why many companies are wary of electronic contracts is because of signatures. Companies worry that if a contract becomes disputed in court, an electronic signature may not stand up to scrutiny.

The truth of the matter is that laws in most states view electronic signatures no differently than ones signed on paper with ink, provided that the signature was made by the individual in question and that the individual knew what he or she was signing. The legality of electronic signatures in the United States was first established with the ESIGN Act, which Congress passed in 2000. Since then, most states have adopted laws that confirm the legality of electronically produced signatures.

It's important to note that even in federal courts, electronic signatures are used. Federal judges now sign off on court orders with an electronic stamper, and the legality of electronic signatures has been upheld in federal and state courts many times since the ESIGN and state legislations were enacted.

If you're concerned about the size of your company's eco footprint, worries over electronic signatures don't have to stand in your way of converting to paperless contracts. To find out more about laws in your own state, contact an attorney or your state's Attorney General's office.

1 Response

Emily Maxie
Emily Maxie

May 06, 2013

Thanks for helping to spread the word about electronic signatures! Many people are afraid to use them because they don’t know about the legislation making them legal. Here’s another article that provides some more depth on the issue.

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