Three Predictions for Business Law Practice

3 Min Read By: Brian Powers

The year 2019 was active in the legal space. Legal operations continued to be adopted by major enterprises and mid-market businesses alike. Facebook, British Airways, and Marriott Hotel faced millions in GDPR penalties, and litigation over clickwrap and other online contracts continued to skyrocket. In 2020, we can expect a continuation of these trends and more. Here are three predictions for what you can expect in the legal/litigation space in 2020.

(1) Data privacy legislation will increase, as will the need for third-party solutions like consent tracking. Data privacy regulations are becoming more of a pain point to legal teams. With the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) now in effect, and the GDPR continuing to be fleshed out, we may see more of a push for easy third-party solutions to things like consent tracking. We will also see a surge of privacy policy-related litigation as the courts are called in to resolve ambiguity surrounding CCPA requirements. Depending on what happens in the aftermath, we may see (and in fact have already seen) a push for federal regulation over privacy. With all of these privacy regulations giving the express mandate to produce a privacy policy that outlines to consumers how their data will be used, companies will need third-party solutions to track consent. Especially as scrutiny of back-end records increases and becomes more sophisticated, third-party solutions will be needed to effectively convince the court of compliance with the new privacy regulations. 

(2) eSignature and contract lifecycle management tools won’t be enough. Businesses should want to leverage any technology that gives them more control over legal and/or compliance-driven aspects of the business, especially business models that operate at a massive scale online. Given that businesses must move at breakneck speed to keep up with consumer demand, legacy technologies like eSignature and contract lifecycle management tend to break, particularly with these newer business models. Technology and tools like these cannot scale with fast-paced business while remaining compliant with the increase in data privacy regulations. As compliance grows in focus in the new year, so will the necessity for technology that governs that aspect of the business. 

(3) Tech adoption will increase because of the drive for efficiency. The constant drive toward efficiency will manifest itself in two ways. First, legal teams will take a more data-driven approach to managing outside counsel and the related spend. Technology within legal has proliferated to such an extent that there are now multiple tools that can be used to provide the data necessary to complete this function. As this technology improves and its adoption increases, it will become one of the most important drivers of change, not just for inhouse legal, but for private law firms as well. Second, legal’s adoption of a more holistic approach to enabling their departments using tech will drive not only major increases in efficiency, but in the type of tech solutions offered by vendors. This holistic approach will begin from a fundamentally different foundation—one that focuses on business velocity versus plodding risk management—and for the first time ever, technology will allow for increases in business velocity to occur simultaneously to a decreased risk profile.

Be Prepared to Defend Your Agreements in 2020

With the CCPA in effect as of January 1, there will be even more compliance-related litigation, which will inevitably change the way companies function. Courts will become even more sophisticated in their evaluation of online agreements, and consumers will become more concerned about their data privacy. Businesses must be more prepared than ever to defend the enforceability of their agreements and prove compliance to the new (and old) privacy laws. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Powers

Brian Powers is the founder and CEO of PactSafe and a licensed attorney. As the CEO, Brian leads the strategic vision of the company’s high-velocity contract…

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