SimplySign electronic signature in the work of lawyers and lecturers
As a university teacher, I participate in many conferences and meetings. With SimplySign, I have no obstacles in signing documents, for example, while traveling on a train. I value my time and money. I recommend it to everyone!
An interview with legaltech solutions expert Dr. Eng. Rafał Tomasz Prabucki on the benefits of using SimplySign qualified signatures and the need to digitize the work of lawyers and lecturers.
How did you become a SimplySign user?
I came across the SimplySign electronic signature at the Electronic Media Forum in Opole, at the Certum booth. It was available for purchase on the spot at a discount for participants, so I made a quick decision. That was three years ago.
What were the first impressions?
I’ll be frank, this was my first contact with electronic signatures. I’d been aware that such a tool existed, but associated it with the need to use a special card and a device to read it.
SimplySign no longer requires this
I found SimplySign to be very intuitive to use. All I had to do was install an app for my phone and computer. No more additional equipment was needed.
SimplySign’s mobility is a big benefit?
This is a huge advantage for me, as I’m often on the go. As a university teacher, I participate in many conferences and meetings. There are no obstacles to signing documents, for example, while riding a train, although Internet access is necessary, of course.
I signed one of the first contracts while at a train station, with a legaltech company. The changes and approval of the content took only a few hours. It was a sensational time to realize such a case.
And how does SimplySign perform in other relationships?
Over time, I began using SimplySign in my dealings with the University of Opole. First as a lecturer at this university, and then implementing a project. The change in the nature of my work involved a change of residence. This was not a problem at all. I was able to sign any documents even while in another city. Alternatively, a handwritten signature would have to be provided when visiting the university. That was an incredible revolution, especially considering that just a few years ago it would have been completely impossible.
What does it look like at other universities?
At the private Leon Koźmiński University, electronic signature has been a standard for many years. Public universities are also following in these footsteps. Using an e-signature is no longer as bewildering as it once was.
So, is there a chance for more widespread use of electronic signatures in higher education?
We want our teaching to develop, to offer new opportunities, the best lecturers. And sometimes a lecturer lives in another city. This is an amazing opportunity to convince them to work in our institution. They can handle all the paperwork remotely and arrive directly at the start of the conference, lecture or class. This is a huge time-saver for the lecturer and a benefit that can be a real gamechanger.
No need to dispatch anything at the post office…
I personally had a situation where the nearest facility was closed due to the COVID quarantine. The next one was much further away and I had to look for an alternative. The necessity of sending things by the Polish Post can be a significant and unnecessary inconvenience. After all, you can use e-mail, upload documents to a cloud drive, use electronic workflow software.
You’ve mentioned the pandemic. Did you notice an increase in the use of e-signatures at that time?
I have recommended SimplySign many times during the pandemic. I got questions about the card and the reader. I said then that all you need for SimplySign is a phone. I was happy to share this knowledge and experience not only with my friends, but also with the managers of the companies I worked with. It also showed that it’s worthwhile to be open to new things and test them as soon as they become available. In my case, this openness paid off – the pandemic “doomed” us to look for new solutions.
What else did you use SimplySign for?
I would be happy to send more complaints signed with an electronic signature to, for example, the state treasury company responsible for rail transportation. I already did it once. It was accepted and considered. What else? Requests for access to public information bearing electronic signatures have been accepted. I received a reply and documents.
Is electronic signature a popular tool among lawyers?
I primarily try to raise the issue of how documents are handled in law firms. The low level of electronic signature utilization in the legal industry results from this. We know very well how to handle the paper document that comes to us – that is, the right stamp, binder, shelf.
When an electronically signed letter arrives by e-mail at the law firm, the printing begins and it is treated like a paper document. This we know how to do. But then we lose the value that the electronic form of the document brings.
Are you encouraging people to get rid of paper?
I for one am a proponent of paperless operations and electronic workflow. But for this you need “digital aptitude” – mail archiving, labeling, secure cloud, categorization and keeping an eye on access rules. Regrettably, people management and electronic workflow management are not among the subjects covered in the five-year law school curriculum. This can also rarely be learned in an internship or apprenticeship at a law firm. I was also a trainee myself once.
What are the consequences?
Upon starting our own business, we realize that we lack skills in effective management. This is where the problems begin. The absence of both soft skills and digital skills prevents us from implementing paperless solutions and managing them effectively. These are the problems I see. In college, we learn how to pass the bar exam, not how to be entrepreneurs. This is not just a problem for the legal industry. Any businessman, if they are a good manager who knows and understands the benefits of paperless solutions, will find electronic signatures desirable and popular in their business and industry. With his help, order will prevail. If not, we’ll always default to what we know best: paper-based workflows that we’re already familiar with. I think it is necessary to learn new things.
How to make the electronic signature a prelude to the digitization of private and professional life?
I’d call it the gym pass syndrome. For some, it’s a motivation to go to the gym regularly. In the case of others, although they pay, they don’t go. I’m in the former group – I use it, I look for new uses. I value my time and money. I recommend it to everyone!