The Ultimate Guide to Buying Legal Research Software

Part I of Series for Buying Privacy Compliance Software

Choosing the right privacy compliance software is complicated, especially for those with operations spanning multiple jurisdictions, extensive operations, or complex – high volume activities. This guide helps those who are motivated to comply with multiple privacy laws especially if they would be held accountable to demonstrate compliance.

Across the globe, organizations are preparing for GDPR compliance as the May 25th implementation date looms. And while the legislation does present a number of widespread changes to privacy management obligations that will be uniform across the EU, it will also be interpreted and regulated in myriad ways across each of the member states. Individual nations are beginning to release their own obligations further to the GDPR, and for organizations processing data across multiple countries within the EU, keeping up with the details of each region’s specificities is a daunting task.

Privacy Compliance Software

Over the last several years, the market has been flooded with software solutions to solve a variety of privacy management challenges. Choosing which software will effectively mitigate risk, build accountability, and help achieve ongoing compliance can be complicated. To streamline the procurement process, and take the guesswork out of choosing the right vendor for your needs, today we are going to share everything you need to know about finding the right legal research software provider.

When evaluating privacy compliance software, there are three categories:

  1. Legal research software, which develops a deep understanding of privacy compliance obligations.
  2. Privacy office support software, which builds and maintains a privacy program that demonstrates ongoing compliance.
  3. Privacy management software, which automates complex or high volumes of privacy management activities.

Today, in part one of a three-part series, we will be taking an in-depth look at the first type of privacy compliance software: Legal research software. In parts two and three, we will detail the advantages of the remaining two types of software solutions.

How legal research software can help

We consider legal research software to be the fundamental support software for the privacy office. Why? Because it provides all the necessary information to understand privacy obligations across multiple jurisdictions. It provides this information either on-demand (for example, in a searchable database), or proactively (with notifications in the form of alerts, reports, or push knowledge). The key here is that legal research software enables the privacy office to advise on compliance, armed with up-to-the-minute knowledge, and a thorough understanding of current legal requirements.

The fundamental aspects of legal research software

There are four essential components to the functionality of legal research software:

1) Enabling ongoing compliance

Compliance is, by nature, an ongoing process. The landscape of legislation is constantly changing, with new obligations arising frequently. A simple misunderstanding of a regulation can result in restrictions on the business; and given how long (and sometimes vague) the guidelines published by regulators and authorities can be, the risk of misinterpretation is very real.

In order to remain compliant, the privacy office will require access to information published currently and historically. Thorough legal research software must provide both a quick executive summary view, and a structured operational analysis of any and all authority documents that may impact compliance. This includes regulator decisions, guidelines, and court documents.

2) Detailed legislative knowledge

Under many circumstances, the privacy office will need to track down detailed provisions for a specific activity or business need. Having to comb through these legislations manually can be overwhelming, and sometimes even impossible if the legislation is written in a language other than your own (as is often the case with foreign jurisdictions).

Thorough legal research software analyzes legislations according to specific requirements, based on existing research. In many cases, the software will even offer a search function to identify requirements in the law, sometimes in the form of a customizable chart or table.

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