Top 10 uses for your Smartcard

1. A physical ID for solicitors  
 
2. A secure online ID for transacting with other solicitors

3. Sign up new clients faster


4. Online submissions to courts and tribunals


5. Exchange missives instantly


6. Compete for clients


7. Authenticate the time and date of documents and file notes


8. File statutory documents and notices online


9. Support clients to transact internationally and instantly


10. Cut your storage costs


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 1. A physical ID for solicitors

Smartcard 10 Uses For Web Physical ID WEB

When your Smartcard is issued, you’ll need to provide proof of your identity.  This means you can be assured that when a solicitor presents a Smartcard, they are who they say they are.

By increasing security between solicitors, clients, and other bodies we’re also emphasising why our members should be the trusted adviser of choice for any legal services.

What does this mean?

  • The Smartcard is the new legal ID for Scotland and may be required to access police stations, prisons and courts.
  • We’re increasingly working with the NHS and care facilities, especially around solicitors accessing vulnerable clients.
  • To enhance security and certainty further, you can check the unique ID number on the card against our live database to get real-time verification of practising status.
  • We’re encouraging clients to ask to see identification from their solicitor. This has been flagged with government and parliament who have had concerns about the public receiving services from those not entitled to practice and who don’t carry indemnity. Why not lead the way by showing new clients your Smartcard?

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2. A secure online ID for transacting with other solicitors

 Smartcard 10 Uses For Web Online ID WEB

When your Smartcard is issued, we will carefully check your identity.  This means when you see a document which has been digitally signed using a Smartcard, you can be assured that the person who signed it is who they say they are, and that they are a practising solicitor.

Why is this important?

  • We’ve seen increased instances of fraud, phishing, hacked email accounts, fake law firms and websites. The Smartcard brings greater online security.
  • You can now ask to see a digitally-signed document by email to provide further confirmation of the person’s identity. It takes seconds, and will give you complete assurance and peace of mind.
  • Signatures can also be checked by clients without special software or systems. Why not positively demonstrate the innovation and security of your practice?
  • A pictorial guide on how to apply and verify a digital signature, as well as professional practice guidance on the legal status of the signatures are available. 
  • You can also download a set of Law Society-branded logos which can be inserted into a document to represent your digital signature.
  • We’re encouraging clients to ask to see identification from their solicitor. This has been flagged with government and parliament who have had concerns about the public receiving services from those not entitled to practice and who don’t carry indemnity.

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3. Sign up new clients faster

 Smartcard 10 Uses For Web Sign Up Clients WEB

When a potential client walks through the door, you want to be able to sign them up as quickly and efficiently as possible and to demonstrate the quality of your service during those first interactions.

How can your Smartcard help with this?

  • Quickly confirm to your client that you are a qualified and practising solicitor with appropriate indemnity, using your card as physical ID or confirming it online by providing your signature by email.
  • Use your card to sign off risk assessment forms for new client transactions.
  • Provide a signed Terms of Business letter electronically by email.
  • Explain to your clients how your Smartcard and secure digital signature lets you provide faster and more secure services than competitors in other jurisdictions.

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4. Online submissions to courts and tribunals

Smartcard 10 Uses For Web Online Submissions WEB

Solicitors across Scotland are already using their Smartcard and digital signature for court and tribunal documents, saving the cost of printing, postage and storage.

How does it work?

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5. Exchange missives instantly

Smartcard 10 Uses For Web Exchange Missives WEB

One of the big changes in the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 was that digital signatures could be applied to missives for the first time. This will allow faster transactions and reduced costs for every conveyancing solicitor in Scotland. Your Smartcard, with its in-built digital signature, is the tool that enables you to do this.

Tell clients that your firm offers a faster and more efficient conveyancing process by taking advantage of this combination of new law and technology.

How does it work?

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6. Compete for clients

Smartcard 10 Uses For Web Compete For Clients WEB

We want Scottish solicitors to be the trusted adviser of choice for every type of legal advice. But the advice market is more complex and has more competitors than ever.

In competing for clients with the unregulated market you can:

  • Encourage clients to ask to see your Smartcard as a form of ID – this helps to educate clients that they should check they are getting advice from a qualified, regulated solicitor with appropriate indemnity cover.
  • Explain to your clients how your ability as a solicitor to use the Society’s secure digital signature lets you provide faster, quicker and more secure services than competitors.
  • Display your digital signature on online communications – and encourage clients to check it online. A pictorial guide on how to apply and verify a digital signature is available.
  • Display ‘regulated by the Law Society of Scotland’ branding, which is available for members free of charge.

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7. Authenticate the time and date of documents and file notes

Smartcard 10 Uses For Web Authenticate Time And Date WEB

Proving a document’s time and date isn’t a problem when using your Smartcard to apply a digital signature. You can also prove, to a legally recognised standard by courts across the EU, that the document has not been changed in any way since that point.

A pictorial guide on how to apply your own digital signature for any of these purposes is available.

Here are some examples of when this could come in handy:

  • If you’re taking advice from the Society’s professional practice team, you can digitally sign your file note to prove the date advice was taken on a complex issue.
  • If you work in-house and wish to emphasise that you are providing formal and privileged legal advice, rather than generic management commentary, you can digitally sign the advice provided.
  • Even if an original document is on paper, you can still scan it and digitally sign the PDF file.
  • Adobe Acrobat and other programmes allow you to bundle multiple documents, perhaps even a whole case file, into a single PDF. When archiving, digitally sign the whole file to provide confirmation of a complete set of information being stored at that date and time.

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8. File statutory documents and notices online

Smartcard 10 Uses For Web File Documents Online WEB

Many organisations now accept key documents which are signed and submitted electronically. This means that by using your Smartcard, you can cut delays and the cost of printing, postage and storage.

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9. Support clients to transact internationally and instantly

Smartcard 10 Uses For Web Transact Internationally WEB 

The world is getting smaller and clients have greater expectations than ever of fast, global service. It might be a company setting up an export deal, a parent renting a student flat for their child studying abroad, or a cross-border house purchase or divorce.

With a digital signature you can:

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 10. Cut your storage costs

Smartcard 10 Uses For Web Storage Costs WEB

One huge advantage of the Smartcard is that you no longer need printed and signed originals of documents. You can also say goodbye to the associated printing, postage and storage costs. Now, an original digitally-signed version can be stored in your existing case management system.

You can lead the way by encouraging other firms you transact with to also digitally sign documents.

How might this work for your organisation?

  • You could get started by carrying out an audit of the material you currently have to print, post and store – items such as missives, contracts, accounts and incidental financial business certificates, employment contracts, court and tribunal submissions, statutory notices and filing. You may be able to save more than you think by going digital now.
  • For organisations with environmental, carbon or CSR targets, the move to a paperless system could also help you achieve these and allow you to promote yourself to clients as efficient and responsible.
  • A pictorial guide on how to apply and verify a digital signature, as well as professional practice guidance on the legal status of the signatures are available.

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The Law Society of Scotland Smartcard

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