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CASL Hassle — Or Fifty Thousand Shades of Grey

Time will tell if there is a CASL comeuppance.

Fifty Shades of Grey, a novel by author E. L. James, is said to be notable for a storyline involving physical exploits of an interpersonal nature that involve the desire to control.

While not nearly as racy, the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) that comes into play July 1, 2014 seems to have many firms tied up in knots as they come to grips with how to best advise clients on what to do while dealing with this conundrum themselves.

CASL, the digital equivalent of the National Do Not Call list, is about trying to control what commercial electronic messages (CEMs) can be disseminated by whom and under what conditions. As it stands now, CASL is not definitively laid out in black and white, but instead is open to about fifty thousand shades of grey in terms of interpretation.

Having worked through this CASL business with a couple of firms, there appear to be numerous iterations about various questions that can be argued any number of ways. Mercifully, there is a three-year transition period to work out the kinks.

While some firms took a dominant position and tackled their communication consent issues early in the year, many firms are thrashing about at this late date securing consent while grappling with a myriad of questions and possible ramifications.

The last time there was this level of fervour was probably in 2010 when HST kicked in and ten years before that, Y2K. Both turned out to be non-events and most folks took them in stride.

Perhaps we might see the same thing when it comes to this obsession with CASL. Of course, there’s the question of disciplining those who will continue to walk on the wild side, spamming away madly in defiance of the new rules and regulations.

Punishments vary from major to minor. Supposedly, comeuppance could be as severe as multimillion-dollar fines. Or perhaps as advice columnist Ann Landers used say – 40 lashes with a wet noodle.

Heather Suttie is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on legal market strategy and management of legal services firms.

For 25 years, she has advised leaders of premier law firms and legal service providers worldwide — Global to Solo | BigLaw to NewLaw — on innovative strategies pertaining to business, markets, management, and clients.

The result is accelerated performance achieved through a distinctive one of one legal market position and sustained competitive advantage leading to greater market share, revenue, and profits.

The effect is accomplishment of the prime objective — To Win.

Reach her at +1.416.964.9607 or

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