One of the more frustrating parts of being a lawyer was getting documents signed by multiple parties. Back in the day, we’d do it by mail – sending a settlement agreement by mail to one party, who would get it signed by their client and then mail it on to the next party for signing, and so on, until weeks later it would be returned to you. The rise of email as a communications tool has only made things a little more efficient – now people receive the agreement by email, print it out, sign it, scan it back in, and email it off to the next party. If electronic signatures are acceptable in your legal neck of the woods, you might want to consider Adobe eSignatures as an alternative. Just take the aforementioned settlement agreement, upload it to the secure site, invite the various parties to the document, wait for them to “sign” it online, and then all parties receive a copy of the digitally signed PDF.
The document is also time-stamped and certified. Here’s a set of more detailed instructions from Rick Borstein’s great blog, AcroLaw. Right now, the service is free (probably while it’s in Beta) – but I wouldn’t expect it to stay that way for long. So give it a whirl now – it will definitely make signing documents a more satisfying experience.