As the 12-month count down to the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) begins, Select Legal Systems are appealing to all law firms to sign up to receive LAWFUSION emails as a belts ‘n braces approach to their marketing practices.

Without your ‘explicit consent’ companies like Select Legal, authors of leading practice management software for law firms,  could have to find other means of communicating with their target markets once the new laws come into force on 25th May next year.

Glass bottle with cork stopper standing on sandy beach with blurred sea in background, rolled piece of paper with string wrapped around it tied in bow and message "HELP" written on it

Joanne Hunter, Head of Marketing for Select Legal Systems, said, “We stringently follow best practice for all our marketing activity.  We don’t bombard law firms. We email our database approximately once a month with useful information about LAWFUSION and other interesting industry related topics.”

“We appreciate this appeal for you to opt-in is a big ask. It’s a distraction none of us on either side of the fence really need in our busy working lives.  But we are working hard to make sure we comply with GDPR for May and in the future. We have made our opt-in form quick and easy – it takes seconds with just 3 fields and a send button.”  
Please Opt-in here now!

I am sure most senior execs at law firms are aware of GDPR and its potential fines for non-compliance.  Of course it goes way beyond marketing.  Select Legal Systems have written about it before here:

04-11-16:  How Will The New Data Protection Changes Affect Law Firms?
19-04-17:  The Great GDPR B2B/B2C Marketing Debate

Although this new legislation has been developed for perfectly valid reasons, e.g.:

1)   to establish a level playing field across Europe
2)   to achieve better security for European personal data
3)   and greater control for citizens over their personal data

… there are knock-on effects for the whole economy if businesses are not going to be allowed to communicate freely with one another about the latest products and services and this could be quite damaging for all of us.  GDPR could inadvertently damage the UK economy if it is not applied correctly. There is still a great need for clarity re what GDPR means for B2B marketing.

GDPR is complex and certainly isn’t just about marketing.  However, for marketers it’s mostly about obtaining consent (opt-in) from people to process their personal data, i.e. processing an email address or multiple email addresses to send a marketing message is classed as processing data. However, there is a difference between marketing to an individual via their personal email address and marketing to an employee at a organisation to their corporate email address.

The EU Commission is proposing to issue a ‘lex specialis’ that will sit alongside GDPR as an interpretation of what the law means and how it should be applied in this region.

So far it is clear that B2C (business to consumer) marketing will get tougher under GDPR in terms of the rules about gaining and proving consent. But there is confusion about what GDPR will mean for B2B marketing.  The DMA (Direct Marketing Agency) interpreted the new legislation in October 2016 as business as usual for B2B marketers. However, until recently the CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) weren’t so sure.  Though at their webinar – What Marketers Need To Know About GDPR – on 8 May they said “B2B marketers will probably NOT need opt in”.  They referred marketers to the Information Commissioner’s Office 39-page draft guidance document on consent, which talks about ‘legitimate interests’:

Legitimate interests: if you are a private-sector organisation, you can process personal data without consent if you have a genuine and legitimate reason (including commercial benefit), unless this is outweighed by harm to the individual’s rights and interests.”

Joanne Hunter, Select Legal’s Head of Marketing added, “The consensus of opinion from experts  at the moment in light of GDPR seems to be that B2B marketers probably won’t need opt-in consent to market their services by email or text message etc. to their databases.  However, the experts are suggesting marketers should strive to get opt-in anyway, just in case things change in the future.  

“We have a large and well managed database of relevant contacts at law firms that it has taken us many years to build and maintain.  In line with current legislation we always provide an efficient opt-out mechanism for those who wish to stop receiving our messages. We will continue to do this and alongside our usual activity we will work on belt ‘n braces approach for our opt-in procedures to make sure we cover all eventualities.”  

Please Opt-in to LAWFUSION marketing here.

Select Legal Systems Limited is a leading provider of Legal Practice Management Software for law firms. Their flagship product, LAWFUSION, offers modules for managing all aspects of a Legal Practice.  For more information about LAWFUSION or Select Legal Systems Limited please call 01482 567601 during office hours. For enquiries outside of normal office hours please use our online form.