How Lawyers Should Send Documents to Their Clients

How Lawyers Should Send Documents to Their Clients

Roberta Arnone
 | 

Sending documents to clients by email attachment or cloud sharing and asking them to print the pages creates certain risks:

  • printing the draft with notes and comments by mistake
  • changes in formatting due to different versions of the same software (sender and recipient)
  • printing double-sided for single-sided jobs
  • printing landscape instead of portrait
  • printing a document with the cover page as page 1 causing your document to start on page 2
  • receiving executed documents on card stock paper or with  3-hole punched margin
  • nonsequential pagination errors, ending up with no margins on court documents
  • printing an  agreement in a font size smaller than
  • receiving an initialed and signed agreement that was witnessed and notarized but a page or pages were omitted (skipped in the printer)
  • orphan signature lines or large unaccounted for gaps in the document
  • inadvertently failing to accept all changes in your red-lined draft before sending it to a client for execution. 

This long list of potential mishaps, seen first-hand, is eliminated when you print and deliver final documents for execution with a tracking number.  I am taking the time out to submit this blog entry to let you know that it is well worth the splurge to mitigate risk associated with leaving it up to your client to figure out. It controls the situation and that is why you charge the hourly rate that you do. As a transactional attorney and notary public for 25 years, I have seen it all.   

Notaries are one option to solve for printing issues and have many benefits including:

  • giving lawyers ample room for a stamp, seal, and embossment
  • using the correct notary acknowledgment or jurat (“sworn to before me” for affidavits) wording by venue – each state’s notary law is online and easy to copy and paste from the Department of State’s website onto your document. 
  • Being aware that the ink from a notary stamp will surely bleed through the page making the backside of your double-sided paper illegible (be clever to make sure the notary acknowledgement is not on the backside of a printed page.
  • Making sure to use verified names of all parties based upon their current identification (individuals) or good standing certificate (entities).

You can print the documents yourself, too. Here are some tips:

  • If you do not know how to section off your document to start page numbers after the table of contents, then create and save the cover and table of contents as one file and main document under another file - assigning page numbers only to the document, so that your printed agreement, as manually assembled begins on page one.
  • If you were tracking changes in different drafts, then accept all changes and save the final version before printing.
  • Times New Roman and Arial size 12 are the most used fonts. Please do not experiment with wild fonts and sizes. Legibility is key.
  • If you run out of “sign here” stickers, use small square adhesive notes and cut them into strips color coding for each signer.
  • If the document requires a witness or two, then make that explicitly clear in bold capital letters in your cover letter.
  • Always send documents in a water protective envelope with the tracking label on the inside and the outside in case the outer label is removed, or the paper envelope is torn or destroyed by water damage.     

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Roberta Arnone
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