Deena Fischer

E-Business Law Group / Just1Group - Managing Partner/ Principal and CEO
Yardley, PA

    Can You Make Your Office "Greener"?

    April 22, 2009

    I know, I know. 

    You're probably thinking... Why is a lawyer talking about green office policies?

    Well, other than the fact that today is Earth Day and I like to try to be relevant, I think that this might be a topic where lots of businesses have trouble.  Happy Earth Day, by the way....

    As a lawyer, I can tell you, it's HARD to get rid of all that paper. Have you ever been to a lawyer's office?  It's rows and rows and rows of file cabinets. 

    Do you ever wonder what's in those cabinets? No, of course you don't.  Don't lie. 

    Seriously, do you have the time to think about how much paper is in your lawyer's file cabinets?  Of course you don't.  And if you do, you might want to consider focusing more on building your business.  Really....

    As lawyers go, I have very little paper in my firm.  And I like it that way.  But even I would like to have less paper. 

    I figure if I'm an entrepreneur and I would like to reduce my use of paper, maybe you would too.  So, I want to tell you something that you may or may not already know that'll save you a lot of paper. 

    I want to talk to you about the E-Sign Act of 2000

    I know, sounds sexy doesn't it?  No? Don't worry, I don't think so either....

    Did you know that there is a law that permits you to sign any contract electronically with the same force and effect as you signing it with a pen?  Well, there is. 

    If we all adopted the use of electronic signatures, it would enormously reduce the number of pages we print out, sign and fax back to people that we do business with.  Just think about it....

    So, why doesn't everyone do it?  Beats me.  I'm guessing it's probably the same reason that some people still feel the need to go to the teller in the bank to withdraw money from their account rather than using the ATM.

    I know, I know, you're now going to ask, "Well how do I do that?  What is an electronic signature?"  Hang on.... I'm gonna tell you...  Sheesh!

    The Electronic Signatures In Global and National Commerce Act (or E-Sign Act) defines an electronic signature as "The term 'electronic signature' means 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.'"

    So, what does that mean? 

    It means that you make your mark on the document and it "may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form". 

    I know, I can hear you think it... Oh yeah, that's very clear!

    No, no.  It's really easy.  I promise. 

    The way most people do an electronic signature is that they type a slash (/) their mark and another slash.  So, for me, mine look like this:

    /deena burgess/ or /dbb/ or /Deena Burgess/

    Or any other mark you like that can easily be identified as your mark.  See?  Piece of cake.

    Don't you think you could start accepting electronic signatures on your agreements?  Don't you think that if we all started doing it, it would do a lot to help the environment?

    I do.

    Happy Earth Day!


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