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August 1, 2023

beA: What Law Firms Need to Know About the Mailbox

beA stands for 'besonderes elektronisches Anwaltspostfach' or special electronic attorney mailbox. Electronic communication is carried out through the special electronic attorney mailbox, which is operated by the Federal Bar Association (BRAK). Every attorney is required to have the special electronic attorney mailbox and use this system to communicate with authorities, courts, or other public entities.

Obligation to use beA

Since January 1, 2022, Section 130d of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) stipulates that all pleadings, motions and declarations in legal transactions submitted by a lawyer, a public authority or a legal person under public law must be transmitted electronically.

Data protection has been at the forefront of the development of the lawyer's mailbox from the very beginning. Without data protection, an electronic system for transmitting messages between attorneys and public authorities is inconceivable. The obligation to use the system is therefore closely linked to a sophisticated security system.

Legal basis for electronic legal transactions

The legal basis for ERV now results in certain requirements for your law firm. On the one hand, these concern the properties of the files or documents to be sent and, on the other hand, the sending process itself. However, the ERV Extension Act will result in significant changes in the area of format specifications.

You can find all the information on our info page on electronic legal transactions.

The functions of beA

The lawyer's mailbox functions similarly to standard e-mail programs, such as Microsoft's Outlook: for example, there is an inbox and outbox, as well as folders for drafts and the recycle bin.

In a law firm with several employees, different, graduated authorizations can be assigned via the electronic lawyer's mailbox. These different access options become practical, especially in combination with STP's law firm software.

Client security is an important element for security and reliability in the electronic exchange of messages. For example, the attorney mailbox can only be accessed and used if the beA card issued by BRAK is read and the PIN is entered correctly.

Electronic Remote Signature

Remote electronic signature in the Federal Remote Electronic Signature Act (beA) refers to the procedure that enables lawyers in Germany to use electronically signed documents in the course of their professional activities. The beA is the "special electronic lawyer's mailbox" that facilitates communication and the exchange of documents between lawyers, courts and other authorities.

The electronic remote signature in the beA serves to ensure the authenticity and integrity of electronic documents. Lawyers can digitally sign their electronic documents, which means that these documents are provided with an electronic signature that confirms their identity as the sender and ensures that the document has not been subsequently changed. This ensures that the electronic documents are legally valid and trustworthy.

At STP, you can flexibly add the electronic remote signature to your booking.

Requirements of beA

With the electronic system prescribed by the BRAK, more security is guaranteed thanks to client security. The software offers clarity and ease of use without sacrificing the security benefits and legal requirements of legal communication.

Thus, with the electronic mailbox for the lawyer, it is guaranteed that messages originate from the law firm that appears as the sender. The electronic lawyer's mailbox has one of the highest conceivable security levels with client security, so that no access to the messages is possible from the Internet.

What are the restrictions associated with beA?

The new attorney mailbox offers many advantages - including less paper and legally secure, fast transmission of messages. However, the system, which was developed under the supervision of the German Federal Bar Association, often proves cumbersome and complicated to use, especially for start-ups:

  • Mobile access to the beA is not yet possible.
  • The electronic lawyer's mailbox is also not accessible from abroad.
  • The mailbox can only be used if the physical beA card is present and the PIN is entered correctly.

Another limitation of the attorney mailbox is the lack of a separate mailbox for a law firm or partnership. With beA, a messaging system has been developed that recognizes only clearly designated attorneys as users. However, beA offers freely definable views for lawyer organizational units, which makes a virtual lawyer mailbox with different authorizations possible.

The special precautions often stand in the way of user-friendly operation. Especially when time is of the essence, client security gets in the way of getting cases done quickly.

Interfaces for beA the best solution:

Since 2022, the beA system is mandatory and must be integrated into a law firm's functioning workflow. Intelligent law firm software can support law firms in circumventing some of these restrictions. An interface for the attorney mailbox makes work much easier and takes advantage of all the benefits of beA. At the same time, client security is also taken into account 100 percent. In addition to easier handling, security is also guaranteed.

 With beA DESK from STP, for example, all mailboxes can be viewed with just one login.