By Jeffrey N. Barlow
This white paper focuses on electronic signatures, particularly judicial and other court official's e-signatures. Acceptance and use of electronic judicial signatures is often the final and sometimes missing piece in the effort to fully realize the benefits of moving from a paper-based document system to a paper-on-demand, electronic document system.
The benefits from this transition are enormous and well documented — the greatest being financial savings. However, when the process must be interrupted to print out a hard copy, get a wet signature or raised seal and then re-scan the signed document, the interruption greatly reduces the efficiency and, therefore, the financial benefits from the new system. In addition, it also provides potential for errors and security breaches.
This is analogous to having a one-mile stretch of unpaved road in the middle of a superhighway. Everything slows to a crawl, and the potential for problems escalates. For this reason, we refer to the adoption of the use of electronic signatures as "Paving the last mile on the road to a paper-on-demand court."