A few days ago I needed to file a declaration on behalf of my client in federal court. The question was whether I needed to drive to meet him in rush hour Atlanta traffic or whether I could use an e-signature after he had seen the document and given me his permission to sign it.
Other attorneys told me they had done it and no one had objected, but with hostile opposing counsel, I opted for the more cautious approach and read the rules.

The local rules for the Northern District of Georgia prohibit the practice and require scanned copies of a signed document. E-signatures are only permitted for attorneys registered with CM/ECF. 
If the original document requires the signature of a non-attorney, the filing party or the Clerk's Office shall scan the original document, then electronically file it on ECF.
See NDGA Local Rules, Appendix H, § (C)(3)(a).

The rules in the Middle District are more permissive.
Affidavits. Affidavits shall be filed electronically. The electronically filed version must contain the typed name of the signatory, preceded by “s/” in the space where the signature would otherwise appear indicating that the paper document bears an original signature. Alternatively, the original signed document may be scanned and filed electronically. The filing attorney shall retain the original paper document for future production, if necessary, for two (2) years after the expiration of the time for filing a timely appeal.
See MDGA Admistrative Procedures For Filing and Verifying Documents By Electronic Means, p. 8.

The rules vary among the circuits and districts, so if you have a question you should look for an appendix or supplement to your court's local rules. If you have questions about the use of a declarations in lieu of an affidavit, see 28 U.S. Code § 1746.


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