Video for Law Firms: What You Must Know About Video Notarization

Video for Law Firms: What You Must Know About Video Notarization

Ever since the Bates v. State Bar of Arizona decision in 1977, video for law firms has become an integral aspect of attorney marketing. As technology continued to advance over the years, though, video started playing a larger role in legal services. It's now used for everything from training to presenting evidence. Even video notarization has become common.

The trend of video notary services took off during the coronavirus pandemic. Whether by executive order or legislation, many jurisdictions relaxed the rules of notarization to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Using video for law firms to handle these services, however, will long outlast the pandemic. Here's what you need to know moving forward.

Rules for Video Notarization

It's unfortunate, but there are no standard rules for how lawyers use video with remote notarizations. That's because different jurisdictions will set their own rules. The SECURE Notarization Act did try to offer some level of standardization on the American federal level. Unfortunately, it had not become law by the time the pandemic started to die down.

Had the bill been passed, using video for law firms to handle notarization would have entailed the following:

  • Permission for state-commissioned notaries to perform remote notarizations.
  • Specific technical requirements necessary for notarizations to occur.
  • Rules regarding appropriate communication technologies and retention of recordings.
  • Requirements for state and federal courts to recognize the validity of remote notarizations.
  • Requirements necessary for notary publics to perform remote notarizations for individuals outside of the U.S.

As this bill did not become law — at least as of March 2022 — smaller governments had to create their own rules. This was true in various places around the world. While there are vast differences between jurisdictions, there are also some fundamental similarities. For instance, the use of video for law firms to handle notarization often requires the creation and storage of recordings.

This is something brand new altogether. After all, notary publics never had to film their work before remote notarizations became common. Many attorneys look at this requirement, though, and don't see a significant issue. After all, can't the technology used to handle video marketing for lawyers be repurposed to record and store notary meetings?

Unfortunately, it's not always that simple.

How Lawyers Use Video Might Not Be Enough

One of the most common tools used for remote notarizations is Zoom. It's a powerful resource used for purposes such as live streaming, employee training, board meetings, and more. Additionally, it allows hosts to record their meetings, seminars, and other events. This means you can easily store notarization video for law firm purposes and stay within the confines of the law, right?

The answer is "it depends." Different jurisdictions will have varying requirements for the tools notary publics and attorneys use. For instance, Zoom may not meet some of the security prerequisites established by governments. The platform's storage limits can also drive up the price of the service substantially. The biggest issue, though, is that you're getting a single-use tool.

Even if Zoom meets the basic legal requirements when using video for law firms, it will only allow you to conduct notarizations and recordings. This fulfills a solitary need, but legal practices have a range of video needs. Rather than opting for Zoom, consider a resource with video tools that allow legal professionals to perform all the following:

  • Provide client advice when meeting in person isn't an option.
  • Train attorneys and staff members internally and save content for later training.
  • Meet trial and litigation needs with video evidence software.
  • Reach more clients with video marketing for lawyers.

Using video for law firms has become a necessity. While Zoom and similar platforms serve a purpose, they can't meet every need of a legal practice. It would be one thing if such services were free. Then, utilizing a separate platform for other tasks wouldn't matter much. Because of the large costs to store recordings, though, you'll end up paying for redundant services.

Fortunately, Viostream can handle all your remote notarization needs along with the tasks described above. Whether you're finalizing a real estate transaction, providing video training, or compiling evidence for trial, Viostream has you covered.

To learn how Viostream can help, visit our Secure Law Firm Video Tools guide today. You'll have all your video needs met — from video marketing for lawyers to video evidence software — while maintaining legal compliance.

Tips for Video Notarizing

When recording video for law firms, there are always requirements you must meet. Knowing the laws of your jurisdiction will help in this endeavor. Even when specific tasks aren't required for video notarization, though, you can do your practice a favor by performing them anyway. By keeping the following tips in mind, you'll ensure a smooth remote notary experience.

  • Obtain verbal recitations: Your jurisdiction may require certain verbal recitations during a remote notarization. Even if it doesn't, it never hurts to ask the signer to assent to recording and state that they're signing freely and voluntarily.
  • Pan the room: Where not restricted by privacy laws, ask the signer to pan the camera around the room. When it comes to video for law firms, it's all about due diligence. This act will reveal if anyone other than the signer is present.
  • Retain while legally required: Although this isn't something to worry about during a notarization, you will need to retain recordings as you're legally required. You can simplify this process by using a platform like Viostream that saves all your recordings.
  • Uphold notary tasks: Having video for law firm purposes doesn't negate your traditional tasks. Have the signer show the front and back of their ID to the camera. They should also show all signed pages on the screen. Make sure the camera angle allows you to see the signing.
  • Know cross-jurisdictional rules: Even in locales that permit remote notarizing, the rules for how lawyers use video might not allow for cross-jurisdictional signing. For instance, the initial law in Massachusetts required all parties to a signing be within the state.
  • Follow video for law firm rules: It's imperative to protect confidentiality. Always use a tool that protects video notarizations with a password.

If you follow these tasks, even when not legally required to do so, your law firm will see tremendous benefits.

Video for Law Firms Is Essential — Get Started Today

The world has seen video squeeze its way into the legal arena for years. It has been used as trial evidence at least as far back as the 1930s, but now it's used for everything from notarizations to depositions. Of course, video notarizing is fairly new on a widespread scale. That's why you should only invest in the best tools when utilizing this technology.

At Viostream, we're able to meet all of a law firm's video needs. This means it's possible to get the job done without the redundancy of using several different tools. Video for law firms is essential, and if you're engaged in video notarizing, you need a resource that can handle necessary tasks while maintaining jurisdictional legal compliance.

To see the great things Viostream can do for your law firm, Start your free trial today and handle all your video notarizing and other legal needs with one simple tool.

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Paul Vecchiato
Paul Vecchiato
Paul Vecchiato (Chief Technology Officer) is an experienced technology professional with over 15 years experience in developing and delivering complex web applications across a wide variety of industries.
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