Electronic Signatures and Notarization During a Pandemic

electronic signature
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The onslaught of COVID-19 has required that most businesses now work remotely. This materially changes the dynamic of the office and leaves employees uncertain as to how they will complete tasks, such as executing contracts, which they had, up until then, taken for granted. Businesses should be aware that federal and state laws allow for certain contracts to be executed via electronic signatures and notarized electronically. 

What are the electronic signature and notarization legal requirements?

Federal and State Electronic Signature Laws

On June 30, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (“E-SIGN”) into law, giving electronic signatures the same legal effect as handwritten signatures under federal law. The E-SIGN Act defines an electronic signature as “an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” When federal law does not apply, individual states have the option to adopt the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (“UETA”). Currently, UETA has been adopted by forty-seven (47) states of the Union and the District of Columbia, with Washington (pending adoption of UETA), Illinois (the Electronic Commerce Security Act) and New York (the Electronic Signatures and Records Act) having passed similar legislation governing electronic transactions. 

Questions about trademark law?

Call us today at (212) 246-0900.

Our initial consultations are free.

Business owners that intend for their contracts to be signed electronically (because either they do not want to meet in person or cannot have agreements readily signed and sent) should include specific language in their contracts to that effect. Contracting parties should also be given the opportunity to opt-out of signing documents electronically. Please note that certain types of agreements, such as those involving trusts and estates, and securities law, still require handwritten signatures. Businesses must also be careful to adhere to applicable federal and state laws to ensure that all documents are enforceable after they have been signed. Advanced authentication options are recommended for enhanced security. In addition, there are many software platforms available in the marketplace that can assist with digital identification, auditing, record retention and phone authentication. 

Electronic Notarization Requirements

On March 19, 2020, Congress introduced the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020 (“SECURE”). Senator Kevin Cramer explained that “Americans shouldn’t have to risk their health or safety to execute important financial or legal documents, especially when they could do so from the safety of their own home.” To date, twenty-three states have approved the use of Remote Online Notarizations (“RON”). SECURE would allow the nationwide use of RON so that consumers and notaries can use two-way audio-visual communication to execute documents that require notarization. 

It may be a while before our professional lives return to a sense of normalcy. Fortunately, federal and state electronic signature and notarization laws exist and/or have been introduced that will help ease the burden of working remotely. When implementing these electronic signature measures, it is imperative for businesses to seek the advice of knowledgeable counsel to ensure proper navigation of applicable state and federal law. 

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or require assistance in connection with contract construction and agreement execution for your business, please email us at info@kleinmoynihan.com, or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney. 

Attorney Advertising

Related Blog Posts:

TCPA Consent – Happy Hour Invites Lead to Text Message Lawsuit

How to Obtain Consumer Consent under the TCPA

California Fair Pay to Play Act and College Athlete Marketing

David O. Klein

David O. Klein

David Klein is one of the most recognized attorneys in the telemarketing, technology, Internet marketing, sweepstakes and telecommunications fields. Skilled at counseling clients on a broad range of technology-related matters, David Klein has substantial experience in negotiating and drafting complex licensing, marketing and Internet agreements.

Schedule a Call
In The Know

Trending Topics

New York Sweepstakes Law blog- Klein Moynihan Turco

New York Sweepstakes Law: Are You Compliant?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In general, a lottery exists when entrants pay for the chance to win a prize. States alone reserve the right to administer lotteries. Businesses can eliminate one element of what would otherwise be an illegal lottery, in order to transform it into a legal promotional game. If the requirement to

TCPA surveys

An Ad or not an Ad: NY Weighs in on TCPA Surveys

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Another day, another court decision that refines constitutes a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) unsolicited fax advertisement. A Manhattan-based federal court recently issued a decision that removes faxed invitations to participate in a survey from the TCPA definition of advertisement. In drawing this distinction for TCPA surveys, the Court held

NY sports gambling law- Klein Moynihan Turco

Agreement Reached to Enact NY Sports Gambling Law

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature agreed to a budget deal that will bring mobile sports betting to the State through a unique NY sports gambling law.  Upon the Governor’s signature, NY sports gambling is primed to become the nation’s largest market. However, New York

UK and US Social Media Influencer Laws

UK and US Social Media Influencer Laws

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In September of 2020, the United Kingdom’s (“UK”) Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) reviewed the Instagram accounts of 122 UK-based social media influencers to determine whether content was being properly flagged as advertising in accordance with applicable social media influencer laws. This past March, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”)

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin