Over the past few months, lawyers around the world have had
to adjust how they practice their profession, and legislatures and the judiciary
have had to adapt to make access to the legal system as safe as possible.

Historically, documents that needed notarization required
the notary to be present in the same room as the signer. In recent months, acting
under 26
V.S.A. § 5364,
the Vermont Secretary
of State has adopted Emergency
permitting remote notarization. The law provides lawyers and the
public with a vital tool in this age of social distancing. Remote notarization
allows notaries and clients to accomplish this task from their own homes.

The process can seem intimidating, but with a simple set of
procedures in place it is easy to adapt to doing notarizations remotely.
However, there are two critical things to note about the law:

Location is Vital

Both the notary and the signer need to be physically present
within the State of Vermont for the notarization to be valid.  If you are travelling out of state, then you
cannot remotely notarize something for someone in state.  Nor can a client who is traveling out-of-state
request that you remotely notarize something for them.  They would need to seek a notary licensed in
the state in which they were present.

Remote Notarizations Must be Recorded

The statute that authorizes remote notarization procedures
requires that notarization be done via a videoconferencing tool like Zoom, and
that the entire session be recorded.  The
recording must then be kept on file by the notary for seven years.

Most, if not all, of the standard videoconferencing apps
allow for easy recording of a session. 
It is helpful to do a few trial runs with whatever program you will be
using so that you have the flow of setting up the conference, recording it, and
saving it.  This makes things much less
stressful when you do your first remote notarization as it gives you a chance
to try to work out any possible bugs in the system. 

Our Remote Notarization Procedures

We have developed a simple set of procedures to follow to
make this process easier for all of our notaries.  These procedures satisfy both critical
requirements noted above.  Sample remote
notarization certificate language can be found in the Emergency

  1. The Notary must be physically present in Vermont
  2. Have the person mail or email an exact copy of the document that they need notarized to you
  3. If emailed, print out before the conference call so that you have the physical copy in hand for the call
  4. Set up a video conference call with the person who needs something notarized
  5. Be sure to inform your client that in order to do remote notarization the conference will need to be recorded and that recording will be retained on file by your office for at least 7 years as required by law
  6. Make sure your video conference is set up to record and record the entire call – web cameras may need to be adjusted to get the actual signing on screen and recorded
  7. When the call begins, verify the signer’s identity
    • If you have personal knowledge and can attest to the identity of the person, then say so
    • If you do not have personal knowledge of the person, then you should verify the person’s identity with two different forms of identification
    • You can also rely on the attestation of a credible witness
  8. Once you have verified the identity of the signer, verify that the document you have in front of you is the same as the document they will be signing
  9. Have the signer adjust their camera so that you can see them signing the document easily and then have the sign the document
  10. Once they have done so, adjust your camera so that it can fully see you signing the document
  11. Complete the Certification for Remote Acknowledgement (sample language for this Certificate can be found on pages 4 and 5 of the Rules)
  12. Save a copy of the recording and keep it on file for at least 7 years

The coronavirus pandemic has changed much for our practice, but we can still provide critical services to our clients without endangering ourselves or our clients.  Remote notarization is just one tool that we can add to our skillset to provide the best services we can during these unusual times. 

Our Legislature could make life easier for litigators by adopting the Uniform Unsworn Declarations Act.


Many thanks to my Associate, Amanda Lee, for doing the
research and preparing a near final draft of this post!

Photo of Rich Cassidy Rich Cassidy

Rich Cassidy is a Vermont personal injury and employment lawyer. He also works regularly as a mediator and arbitrator.

A founder of Rich Cassidy Law, he has more than 40 years of experience with the practice of law in Vermont. Over the years…

Rich Cassidy is a Vermont personal injury and employment lawyer. He also works regularly as a mediator and arbitrator.

A founder of Rich Cassidy Law, he has more than 40 years of experience with the practice of law in Vermont. Over the years, his practice has changed substantially. As a result, Rich has represented all sides in many kinds of disputes: plaintiffs and defendants, employers and employees, injured parties and insurance companies. He believes that the breadth of his experience benefits all of his clients.

He is proud to represent the Burlington Police Officers Association and United Nurses & Allied Professionals.

For many years, Rich’s personal injury practice has been limited to representing injured persons and his labor and employment practice has been focused on representing employees. He enjoys the challenge of representing individuals in a world that seems increasingly dominated by large corporations and powerful institutions.

He has significant experience with litigation and alternative dispute resolution involving higher education, public education, public safety, health care, municipalities and manufacturing. His clients have included college students, faculty, and administrators as well as individuals, businesses, governmental agencies, and not-for-profit entities. He represents both labor unions and individuals in collective bargaining relationships. Many of his individual clients in employment law cases begin work with him under Limited Scope Representation Agreements.

He has also advocated for individuals, businesses and governments in a broad range of civil litigation, including in construction cases, cases under the Uniform Commercial Code, and contract and business tort claims.

In addition to his work as a litigator and counselor, he has served as a mediator and arbitrator and is a member of the Panel of Early Neutral Evaluators for the United States District Court for the District of Vermont and the early neutral evaluation panels for the Vermont Environmental Court and Vermont Superior Courts.

Rich believes that legal process can serve the ends of justice and has been active in work to improve the law throughout his career. For details see our public service page.

When he’s not practicing law or in a committee meeting, Rich enjoys reading, walking his dog, Sophie, skiing, swimming, and rowing his Adirondack Guide Boat on Lake Champlain.



·         Albany Law School Union University, Albany, New York

    • J.D. – 1978

·         University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont

    • B.A. – 1975

·         Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Rutland, Vermont

    • College Preparatory Diploma – 1967 -1971

Bar Admissions:

·         Vermont, 1979

·         New York, 1979

·         U.S. District Court District of Vermont, 1979

·         U.S. District Court Northern District of New York

·         U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, 1986

·         U.S. Supreme Court, 1990

Honors and Awards:

·         Jonathon B. Chase Award, ACLU of Vermont, Inc., 1990

·         Grassroots Award, American Bar Association, 2009

·         Equal Justice for All Award, American Bar Association, 2008

·         President’s Award, Vermont Bar Association, 2015

Professional Associations and Memberships:

·         Uniform Law Commission

    • President, 2015 – 2017
    • Executive Committee, Member
    • Scope & Program Committee, Chair, Member
    • Secretary
    • Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act, Drafting Committee Chair
    • Apportionment of Tort Responsibility Act, Member, Drafting Committee
    • Revised Uniform Arbitration Act, Member, Drafting Committee
    • The Model Punitive Damages Act, Member, Drafting Committee
    • Covenants Not to Compete Drafting Committee, Chair, 2020 to present
    • Developments in Privacy Law Committee, 2020 to present
    • Vermont Member, 1994 – Present

·         American Bar Association, 1978 – Present

    • Board of Governors, 2005 – 2008
    • American Bar Association, House of Delegates, 1999 – 2015

·         American Counsel Association, President, 2009 – 2010

    • Director

·         American Law Institute, Elected Member, 2015 – Present

·         Vermont Association for Justice, Member

·         Vermont Trial Lawyers Association, Member

·         Vermont Employment Lawyers Association, Founding Member, Past President, Treasurer

·         Vermont Bar Association, Member, 1978- Present


Past Employment:

·         Hon. Robert W. Larrow of the Vermont Supreme Court, Law Clerk, 1978 – 1979

·         Chief Justice Albert W. Barney, Jr., Vermont Supreme Court, Chief Law Clerk, 1979 – 1980

·         Law Office of David C. Drew, Associate Attorney, 1980 – 1982

·         Hoff, Wilson, Powell and Lang, P.C., 1982 – 1986

·         Hoff, Wilson, Powell and Lang, P.C., Shareholder, 1986 – 1989

·         Hoff Curtis, President and Shareholder, 1989 – 2016


Rich is a frequent writer and speaker on legal topics. He has lectured on trial practice, employment, arbitration, mediation, and construction law subjects before the American Bar Association, the National Employment Lawyers’ Association, the Vermont Bar Association, the Vermont Trial Lawyers Association, and the Vermont Employment Lawyers’ Association.

He has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers® and New England Super Lawyers® by his peers. (Listing in The Best Lawyers in America® or Super Lawyers® does not guarantee a desired result in a legal case or that listed lawyers are necessarily more skilled than lawyers who are not listed in such publications.) He was the 2013 “Best Lawyer of the Year” for Employment Law – Individuals and the 2015 “Best Mediator of the Year.”

His blog, On Lawyering.com is widely read by legal professionals and is syndicated on Lex Blog.