Signature Templates vs. Custom Documents

You can use Lawmatics to send out your firm’s contracts and agreements for e-signature. There are two different ways to create these e-signature documents, we’ll dive into the situational use for each one as well as how to use them.

Signature Templates

Templates start with a PDF file as the base, and you’ll then drag and drop fields to be merged into the template as well as signature fields to prompt where to sign. The key thing to keep in mind about templates is that you cannot make any updates/edits to the content once the PDF has been uploaded to the template.

It makes sense to use signature templates for simple forms that are very unlikely to change. For example, it would make sense to use this feature for a credit card authorization, HIPAA form, record request authorization, etc. We typically do not recommend using signature templates for your fee agreements, that is a better fit for custom documents which we also be discussing here.

You’ll start by preparing your base document. Make sure that the document does not have any fields already merged in like the current date or a client’s name. Also, make sure that it has blank spaces built in where you can merge the necessary fields. Once it is prepared, upload it as a firm file by hovering over the orange plus sign in the top right and selecting upload file.

To create the template you’ll hover on Assets and select E-Signatures, then select Create Signature Template. You will see a box similar to the one below.

Give your template a name and then select your base document from the drop down list. The signer type will typically be Matter if this is a document that will be used for clients. You will also add in the appropriate number of matter and firm signers, as well as assign them a role.

When you are assigning the signers keep in mind that each signer will need to have one required signature in order to complete the template.

Once you click Create Template you will be taken to the template building canvas. You will see all of your different types of fields (signature, initials, textbox, etc) listed across the top, and you can drag them anywhere on the document.

Use the Textbox field to merge in any of your fields, such as the client’s name. To merge in a field you will start by dragging and dropping the Textbox wherever you want it. Then select Lawmatics eSigner as ‘who fills this out’ and select the field you want for ‘what text goes here’.

Same thing for any of the signature fields, drag and drop the field, and then assign who needs to sign/date/initial/check in that place and whether it is required or not.

Once you have finished adding all your fields you are ready to click Continue in the top right. This will save the document as a template that can either be sent as a one-off instance to a client or be built into an automation.

Custom Documents

Whereas signature templates require a static base document, custom documents do not. They are living, breathing, editable documents, that you can update at any point using our built-in word processor.

You’ll find custom documents by hovering over Assets, and selecting Custom Docs. Create a new doc by selecting Create New Document in the top right. Once again you will likely create documents as Matter type and you are not required to select a practice area.

Start by dragging a Text Field from the standard blocks section. You will see that it looks similar to other word processors you might have worked with. You can copy and paste your document into the text editor, use the formatting tools provided to add bullet points, images, etc., and merge in any fields using the drop downs provided.

You can also assign the number of signers who will be signing via e-signature by clicking on Signature Settings in the top right.

You can also use custom docs to make conditional paragraphs. This allows you to either show or hide certain sections of the document depending on whether or not the condition applies. This could be used for certain practice areas, case types, or any other custom field.

When editing a custom doc, make sure to click ‘Save Document’ at the bottom periodically to save your work!

To learn how to use conditional logic and much more in custom docs, check out this video!