Privacy Policy Lawyer: Do You Really Need One?

If you’re running an online store, offering digital services, or showcasing your creative talents through a website, have you thought about your website’s privacy policy?

Having a valid privacy policy on your website is a legal necessity that explains how you handle your users’ data. Hiring an expert to draft one for you might seem like a natural choice, but is it really worth it?

In this article, I’m going to break down the role of a privacy policy lawyer when it comes to creating one and explain some scenarios where hiring one can be a good idea. If you’re looking for options beyond lawyers, I’ll give you other alternatives too.

PRO TIP: Take the hassle of writing your own privacy policy away with our privacy policy generator trusted by over 150,000 businesses. It’ll save you hours of work and possible costly legal mistakes.

Do You Really Need a Privacy Policy Lawyer?

No. For most small online businesses, hiring a privacy policy lawyer isn’t necessary. You can save on costs and meet basic requirements using online tools. Unless you’re in a heavily regulated industry, keeping things simple often does the trick.

Hiring a lawyer can be expensive. If you are just starting out, saving those dollars for growing your business is often a better plan.

Simple businesses often have simple privacy needs, and you can meet them without legal gymnastics. Think about what info you’re collecting from your visitors or customers. If you’re not doing anything shady, creating your privacy policy can be pretty straightforward.

Understanding the Role of a Privacy Policy Lawyer

Let’s say you’re considering bringing in expert help. What’s their deal, and what would they actually do for you?

A privacy lawyer specializes in creating, reviewing, and advising on privacy policies for websites and businesses. Their role is to safeguard businesses from legal pitfalls, provide clarity on data practices, and ensure compliance with privacy laws.

They dig into the nitty-gritty of your operations, understand how you handle data, and create a document that aligns with your practices, relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards.

A privacy lawyer also offers legal insights on data protection, user rights, and potential risks.

PRO TIP: If you decide to go this route, make sure you provide your lawyer with all the necessary details about your business. The more they know, the better they can tailor the policy to your unique situation.

When Might You Consider Hiring a Privacy Expert?

While many small online businesses can manage without one, there are certain situations where getting their help is a good choice. Let’s take a closer look at when it may be the case.

Niche Sectors With Specialized Data Handling Requirements

If your business operates in a niche sector with distinct data handling demands or in a regulated industry, think of medical or financial data, a privacy policy lawyer can ensure you’re not just compliant, but also fully on top of those specialized rules.

Navigating Complex International Data Regulations

Dealing with customers or visitors from various parts of the world? If so, then you may need to juggle international data laws. An international privacy expert can help you navigate this web of regulations without getting tangled up.

They would know the ins and outs of global data regulations and help you stay on the safe side by making sure your privacy policy covers everything it should.

Tailoring Specific Clauses for Multifaceted Data Operations

When your data practices are as complex as a puzzle, a lawyer can expertly draft clauses that cover all the angles, hopefully leaving no room for legal gaps. This is usually the case with big corporations such as Amazon, Meta, Google, etc.

They have way too many “moving parts” so it’s essential to get proper legal coverage to ensure nothing gets forgotten and there are no contradictions in handling different types of data across their services.

Potential Lawsuits and Reputation Damages

Remember, mistakes in your privacy policy can lead to lawsuits and damage your reputation. In scenarios where errors could cost you dearly, a privacy policy lawyer protects you from potential legal storms.

This is usually the case in regulated industries as they get scrutinized and audited a lot more often than anything else.

Dealing With Vast Quantities of Sensitive Data

Handling heaps of sensitive data, such as personal or financial information, demands the utmost care and precision. A lawyer can ensure you handle this information responsibly and in line with legal mandates. Their expertise gives you confidence that your data practices are both compliant and ethically sound.

​​Complex Business Models and Data Flows

If your business involves using many different tools and systems to handle data, it can get quite complicated. An expert can step in to make sense of it all and ensure that your privacy policy explains how data moves around in your business and that you’re doing things right, so you can stay legally protected.

How Much Do Lawyers Charge to Draft a Privacy Policy?

There are two ways lawyers can charge for their services: by the hour or with fixed rates. While the rates can typically range from $200 to $300 an hour, the fixed fees can vary from around $300 to well over $5,000.

When figuring out the cost of making a privacy policy with a lawyer, remember to consider your business size, the scope you need, and the lawyer’s know-how or expertise.​​ Here’s a breakdown of what to keep in mind:

Bigger companies usually have more data to handle, which can make the job more complex. This might nudge the cost a bit higher.

Then there’s the scope of your policy. If you want it to cover a lot of things, it might take more time for the lawyer to put it all together, which can mean a higher fee.

Lastly, the lawyer’s expertise matters. A highly experienced privacy policy lawyer might have higher fees. However, it is good to note that this experience often ensures a solid and legally sound policy.

While lawyers can provide personalized attention, remember that for simpler businesses, the cost might not always justify the benefits. Online solutions can offer comprehensive policies at a fraction of the price.

PRO TIP: If you opt for a lawyer, make sure you get a clear estimate upfront. Understand what’s included in the fee and any potential additional charges.

How to Choose the Right Lawyer?

Picking the right lawyer for your privacy policy is a big deal. Their expertise shapes your legal document, which can impact your business reputation and compliance. To make this decision, you may need to consider a few factors:

Expertise Matters

Look for lawyers who specialize in privacy and data protection. They should be well-versed in the laws that pertain to your business, whether they’re local regulations or broader international standards.

Relevant Experience

Consider lawyers who have previously worked with businesses similar to yours. If they’re familiar with the kind of data your business handles and the industry you’re in, they’ll be quicker to grasp your needs. This can save time and ensure accurate policy crafting

Ask for Referrals

Don’t hesitate to tap into your network of fellow business owners. Hearing about firsthand experiences can provide insights into a lawyer’s professionalism, responsiveness, and overall effectiveness. It gives you an idea of what it’s really like to work with that lawyer.

Transparency

Opt for a lawyer who’s open and transparent about their fee structure and what exactly their services cover. A clear understanding of costs helps you avoid any unpleasant financial surprises down the road.

Communication

Prioritize a lawyer who communicates clearly and effectively. They should be good at translating legal jargon into plain language so you fully understand the policies they’re crafting.

Size of the Firm

Consider whether you prefer a smaller law firm, which might offer more personalized attention, or a larger one with a broader pool of expertise. Decide based on your comfort and business needs.

Compatibility

Trust your instincts. A successful partnership depends on your comfort level and the sense of trust you have in the lawyer’s ability to handle your legal matters competently.

Online Presence

Browse their website and read online reviews. This can give you a sense of their reputation, work ethic, and the quality of their services as experienced by others.

Initial Consultation

Many lawyers offer an initial consultation at no cost. Use this opportunity to discuss your business needs and gauge their understanding and enthusiasm for the task.

PRO TIP: Don’t rush your decision. Take your time to research and have conversations with a few lawyers. The right choice can make a world of difference in ensuring your privacy policy aligns perfectly with your business.

Alternatives to Hiring a Lawyer

Hiring a lawyer isn’t the only way to get your privacy policy sorted. Check out these alternative options below that most businesses can benefit from.

Use Online Generators

Handy online tools that can generate privacy policies make this seemingly complex task very simple. These tools take you through a series of questions about your business and create a privacy policy based on your answers. It’s quick and budget-friendly.

You don’t need to be a legal whiz to use online generators. They take care of the technicalities and ensure that your policy covers the important elements required by privacy laws.

They also often provide customizable options, allowing you to fine-tune specific clauses according to your business practices.

If you’re not quite certain about this choice, you can pay a lawyer to review the generated privacy policy. It’ll come out much cheaper and faster than having them draft it from scratch.

Personalize a Template

What makes privacy policy templates helpful is that they provide a structured starting point. You can select sections from these templates that fit your business data practices and industry and put them together.

However, note that these templates are often generic in nature and are not designed to cover every important detail of your business.

The key is customization. Personalizing the template can ensure that it accurately reflects the unique privacy requirements of your business. If you’ve got some to spare and are good at research, you may opt for this option.

Do It Yourself

If you’re up for a little legal adventure, you can do your privacy policy solo. However, while the thought of doing it yourself might seem like a good choice, remember that it demands a good deal of expertise.

You will need a strong understanding of the privacy laws that specifically relate to your business and location.

If you’re willing to invest the time to become knowledgeable about privacy laws, then taking on this challenge could be rewarding. However, if you’re not comfortable with legal complexities, consider the other alternatives above.

PRO TIP: Whichever route you choose, give the final policy a good once-over. Ensure your policy truly represents your business and is in line with the legal standards.

Advantages of Using an Online Generator

When it comes to creating your privacy policy, online legal document services can be a lifesaver. These services enhance your business’s legal standing while streamlining your operations. Here’s why they’re a smart move for your business:

Affordability

Privacy policy generators often come with a budget-friendly price tag. They offer comprehensive privacy policies at a fraction of the cost of hiring a lawyer.

This means you’re not only safeguarding your business legally but also freeing up resources that can be reinvested into the growth of your venture.

Convenience

Online services simplify the policy-making process, which saves you time and effort. Instead of navigating complex legal pathways on your own, these tools guide you step by step and make the process hassle-free.

Personalization

These services aren’t one-size-fits-all. Using a series of questions to understand your data practices, the generators ensure that your privacy policy is custom-tailored to align with your specific operations.

Storage and Organization

Some services provide secure storage for your documents. This means you can access your privacy policy whenever you need it, and you won’t have to worry about misplaced or outdated versions.

Reducing Human Error

In most cases, they are designed to guide you through the process and reduce the chance of human errors that can occur when drafting legal documents manually. Such a systematic approach ensures accuracy and minimizes potential legal hiccups.

Automatic Updates

Privacy laws can change, and businesses should keep up with them. Many online services automatically update your privacy policy to reflect the latest legal requirements. This helps you stay compliant without stress.

Global Reach

The advantages of the generators extend beyond borders. They enable your business to create a policy that caters to a global audience. With considerations for international data laws, your privacy policy connects you to customers around the world.

Gabriela Dascalescu
CS50L, FIP, CIPP/E, CIPM, CIPT
Gabriela is a privacy expert and data protection officer who focuses on translating legalese. She dedicates to staying updated on tech and digital law developments to help clients get compliant with privacy regulations and legal tech requirements. She provides clear and concise legal advice, considering business objectives and interdisciplinary expertise. She integrates knowledge from various legal fields to offer comprehensive solutions in today's interconnected world.