Does an email constitute a legal document?

I have an email from employer dated and signed (typed signature not an “actual” signature).

Asked on July 11, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is possible to legally bind yourself to a contract through e-mail. Basically, a contract is formed when an offer is made and then accepted. If an e-mail clearly states an offer with all of the material terms and the other side responds by e-mail accepting the terms, then a valid contract has been created. This is so even if no signatures have been exchanged. If all a party intends is to negotiate the terms leading to a formal written and signed contract accepted by both parties, that should be stated in the e-mail.

The fact is that under the law (with certain exceptions, none of which appear applicable here), 2 parties can negotiate, sign and exchange copies of a contract without signing a physical document. Legally, such an agreement can be just as valid as a written agreement using actual signatures.

However, to be certain of your rights regarding this e-mai, you should consult directly with a local attorney. They can best advise you after reviewing it.


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