Preparing Law Firms & Legal Marketers for the EU’s GDPR: Lessons from CASL

February 28, 2018

We offer a guide on the GDPR for legal marketers and law firms, drawing on our experience in navigating CASL.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be coming into force on May 25th, 2018. The EU is cracking down on how citizen data is used, stored, and protected. This new regulation comes with direct and serious implications for law firms and legal marketers operating in the EU or providing services to clients located within EU jurisdictions.

As legal marketers headquartered in Canada, we are familiar with complex government regulations that have a direct impact on marketing, aka the Canada Anti-Spam Law, aka CASL. Every marketer in Canada was scrambling to ensure compliance with CASL in time for July 1st, 2017, when the three-year transition period closed and government gloves came off.

Like the GDPR, CASL requires marketers to practice permission-based marketing and to obtain consent before sending e-newsletters, messages, witty memes, whatever it may be. If you want to obtain “Express Consent” under CASL, you need to make it clear what the user is subscribing to, the nature of your business and you need to give users the option to unsubscribe at any time. This regulation has direct implications for law firms and legal marketers eagerly looking to grow their mailing lists.

Applying lessons learned from CASL to the GDPR

We are happy to say that we, and our law firm clients, survived CASL. We are more mindful now of how we reach out to new prospects and contacts. Overall, we are more subtle in our approach. This regulation changed the marketing landscape here in Canada. The GDPR promises to do the same in Europe on a much grander scale.

Back when CASL was bearing down, many of us marketers suffered stress headaches and eye-strain as we tried to make sense of all the mountains of information listed on government websites. With GDPR approaching, we wanted to offer our colleagues across the pond the benefit of our experience so that they can mitigate stress and get prepared.

We did the research and created a guide on GDPR for law firms and legal marketers. In this guide, we outline the main points of the regulation while also including links to additional compliance resources.

A lawyer holding a tablet that shows a guide to the GDPR for Law Firms and Legal Marketers

Great chess players, they say, never simply retreat: they are always looking to turn a situation to their advantage. As marketers, we should approach the GDPR and other regulations strategically. Rather than simply retreating, we should aim to make our marketing better and more targeted. In our guide to the GDPR, we offer three ways to turn regulatory requirements into marketing advantages.Note: While we work closely with lawyers, we don’t pretend to be experts on the law. Our guide is meant only as a resource. If you have further questions about how GDPR will affect you or your firm, we encourage you to contact a lawyer in your area specializing in data regulation.

Connal McNamara

Lynn Fitzpatrick Foley
Fitzpatrick Foley

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