Supporting mission-critical justice processes with digital document transformation

Statue of woman holding weights.

The law enforcement agencies, courts, and corrections departments that make up our justice system have traditionally been reliant on face-to-face interactions and paper-based processes. With the disruption of the pandemic, the justice system had to find ways to quickly move to contactless digital and virtual experiences. All the manual processes that were time-consuming beforehand suddenly became major operational roadblocks.

When you think about all the ways people depend on our justice system — and all the complexity involved in most family, civil, and criminal law cases, it was critical that the justice system quickly adapt. The pandemic certainly created challenges, but it also brought opportunities to create an easier, more transparent judicial process.

As an example, with the court system under even more pressure to transform how it provides public service, Adobe teamed up with a U.S. court to create a digital process for search warrants.

Due to the complexity involved in obtaining warrants, the court needed an easy, self-serve way to process hundreds of warrants a day. By creating seamless workflows, they were able to speed up approvals and minimize risk. To comply with legal requirements, every detail had to be handled correctly. Plus, the entire process needed to be safeguarded to protect sensitive information. Using Adobe Sign, the team created a highly secure, automated solution that delivers a tailored self-service experience 24/7/365. This process helped lower costs by eliminating the need for printing, scanning, and tracking paper documents. In addition, justice officials now have greater visibility and control of the warrant process with less work and less risk. By integrating Adobe Sign with other third-party solutions, the court has been able to help employees work remotely and has set the foundation for how the court system will work going forward.

Adobe is committed to continuing to help keep justice moving forward. With experience working with various law enforcement and justice agencies, here are five key reasons that government organizations partnered with Adobe for their modernization initiatives.

1. Delivering end-to-end digital document experiences

Many processes start with a paper document, a PDF, or an online form, but then have multiple manual — often disjointed — steps along the way. Adobe Document Cloud (including Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Sign, and Document Services) can keep the digital process moving forward with minimal manual intervention. Employees can have the right forms at their fingertips to be electronically filled out, signed, and distributed for approval. Justice organizations are using digital documents in all kinds of ways, including virtual/hybrid courtrooms, case filings, subpoenas, pleas, waivers, litigation, legal forms, and internal requests. Recipients can sign from any device, and the entire process is tracked in real-time.

2. Getting documents signed and approved faster

Rather than simply recreating manual processes in a digital world, Adobe can help government agencies create new and better justice experiences. For example, justice employees often send out documents to multiple people, then must follow up repeatedly until all parties have signed. Digital workflows provide a better way — one that’s faster, easier, and automated.

Employees can send documents to multiple recipients in a specific order. For example, a document may need to be first signed by the parties, then their attorneys, and finally by the judge. Adobe Sign processes can be tailored and templated for specific scenarios and use cases. Reminders and alerts remind individuals to complete activities.

According to a Forrester Study, Adobe Sign gets approval processes completed 28 times faster.

In another scenario, multiple recipients may need to sign and return their own personalized version of a standard document, like a non-disclosure agreement. By combining document templates with Adobe Mega Sign, one person can send the same agreement in bulk to multiple people, with the document content personalized for each recipient.

Automation can also be used to extract text and images from documents. Justice organizations sometimes use this information to populate records in their back-end systems. Pre-built integrations with enterprise solutions such as Microsoft, ServiceNow, Salesforce, etc. require no coding and help keep everyone involved up-to-date. To ensure that sensitive information stays protected, content can be removed or redacted using U.S. FOIA and U.S. Privacy Act code sets.

3. Standardizing on one adaptable digital document platform

Instead of having multiple point solutions for different justice functions, a key advantage of partnering with Adobe is having one standard platform that’s easier to use, support, and manage. Employees can communicate with ease, internally and externally, to manage law enforcement functions like:

For example, by combining Adobe Sign with enterprise web conferencing solutions, court officers can create secure and contactless virtual courtroom experiences that integrate video, chat, document sharing, and signing experiences. Every step of the courtroom process can be conducted virtually, including arraignments, judgments, verdicts, and sentencing.

4. Creating easy-to-use, secure and contactless document experiences

When you consider how many people might be involved in any courtroom activity — plaintiffs, defendants, staff, attorneys, families, jurors, witnesses, etc. — it’s easy to see how valuable digital documents and virtual courtrooms can be. No transportation expenses. No lost documents. Every person involved securely receives the documents they need to create legally binding approvals from any device. This is the government experience the public wants and expects — easy, cost-effective, convenient, safe, and secure.

Digital documents and workflows help the justice system work more efficiently. When using digital documents to replace paper and in-person experiences, the cost-savings really add up. From reducing travel expenses to saving on printing and labor costs, government agencies are achieving a 420 percent return on investment in just three months. Those savings demonstrate good use of taxpayer dollars. The public wants an efficient government, but also one that protects their privacy.

We know that security, privacy, and compliance are top concerns for justice organizations. Ongoing collaboration with partners, researchers, and other industry organizations helps us understand the latest threats and security best practices in order to build government-grade security into our solutions. Our current Adobe Sign solution is a FedRAMP Tailored solution and is used by government agencies today. We are pleased to share that Adobe Sign is also “in process” for FedRAMP Moderate authorization to support even more use cases in the future.

Because security and compliance policy rules can be enforced automatically, legal teams can have confidence that sensitive information is protected, and that legal, regulatory, and accessibility requirements are met. Using government credentials for access and signature authentication features provides additional levels of security.

5. Working with a dependable partner.

Justice organizations trust Adobe because we’ve been in business for nearly four decades, providing solutions that help organizations of every size. Our commitment to our customers, community, and culture is stronger than ever.

When another one of the largest county court systems needed to rapidly digitize court hearings, they called Adobe. The team jumped into action. By leveraging Adobe Sign with Microsoft Teams, the county was up and running with a virtual courtroom experience in just five days. Best of all, they now have the foundation in place to achieve their long-term digital transformation goals.

Adobe helps organizations create exceptional 100% digital experiences. You can start simply and scale-up, building processes and gaining experience as you go. The Adobe Document Cloud is secure, scalable, and compliant, trusted by government agencies and the majority of the Fortune 100. By leveraging Adobe Sign, these organizations process billions of transactions every year. Adobe has a dedicated government team that understands the culture and the best ways to get employees on board and excited about modernization initiatives.

Learn more about Adobe digital justice solutions.

Take the next step to see how Adobe can transform your organization. Our platform was built to be flexible — so you can easily integrate it into your existing IT systems and scale it to your future needs. Our eBook, Keeping the Wheels of Justice in Motion, is a great place to start. You can also contact us to explore ways we can work together to create justice for all.