How Law Firms Are Helping Clients Navigate Laws Between Jurisdictions With Apps

According to our latest research into the top 300 law firms, 27.4% of law firms that have mobile apps are using reference apps. More than half of those are law comparison guides across jurisdictions, with 13.7% of apps created by law firms falling into that category.

These regulation comparison guides (or “country comparison apps” as we call them for short) are reference tools that help users — mostly in-house counsel — navigate a specific law, regulation, or the legal aspects of a sector, across many different jurisdictions.

Some of them contain direct comparison functionality, but many simply allow you to navigate between jurisdictions to see what’s done where and how.

In this article we’ll outline what an ideal country comparison app looks like, what features they should include, and examples of how law firms have already used these apps to great effect.

What features should your app have?

  1. “Select a topic” options
  2. Select one or several countries at once for specific topics
  3. Push notifications to let users know when there’s an update in regulations
  4. A news stream with information about relevant cases, case studies, events you’re running on the topic, etc.
  5. A list of relevant experts in your firm for people to get in touch with if they need more information (divided by country, if necessary)
  6. A form to send additional questions and suggestions
  7. A terms & conditions screen to explain the purpose and limitations of the information in the app

7 Examples of country comparison apps

In our state of mobile apps in law firms report we discovered that 13.7% of firms with apps have a country comparison app — that’s 17 total apps in the app stores, with more being added regularly.

We decided to gather some of the best examples* of these apps created to show how some firms have already been using the power of mobile apps to their advantage across a range of jurisdictions.

*Note: the descriptions of the apps below were taken from the public app stores, and not created by Fliplet

Latham & Watkins – Global Merger Regimes

(Android & iOS)

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The Global Merger Regimes™ Application provides access to the main contents of merger review regimes around the world. This information is critical in the M&A process, as transactions may require approval from competition authorities around the world. Users have simple access to applicable national filing thresholds, timeline to clearance and additional useful information relating to merger regimes around the world.

Key Features:

  • Short, quick answers to all relevant questions
  • A huge selection of countries to pick from (over 90)
  • A fast link to a currency converter site on the main navigation

Baker McKenzie – Global Healthcare MapApp

(Android & iOS)

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“The Baker & McKenzie Global Healthcare MapApp was borne out of our clients’ need to keep up with and understand the laws and policies affecting the way they run businesses in multiple jurisdictions. More than just a reference tool, the Global Healthcare MapApp enables users to easily contact over 400 lawyers in the Baker & McKenzie’s Global Healthcare MapApp practice all over the world.

With Baker & McKenzie’s Global Healthcare MapApp, users can access legal information anywhere, anytime.”

Key Features:

  • Most areas are password protected – not much open functionality
  • Interesting map interface – rotate the globe with touch
  • News updates are provided via the app, on top of comparison functionality

Mayer Brown – A Global Guide to Background Checks

(Android & iOS)

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Background checks have become a critical part of the recruitment process in many countries. Employers with a global presence often seek to harmonize recruitment policies across different jurisdictions but addressing the various restrictions and regulations around background checks can be challenging.

A Global Guide to Background Checks provides an overview of both the legal and practical issues relating to background checks in 50 key countries. Our largest guide to date, it covers a wide range of background checks, from criminal record checks through to drug and alcohol testing, and identifies the applicable conditions, restrictions and sanctions in each country.

It also incorporates new ‘at-a-glance’ traffic lights for each region, highlighting whether background checks are standard practice, unusual or prohibited in a particular jurisdiction.”

Key Features:

  • Traffic light indicators
  • Dozens of countries available for comparison
  • Shortcut to firm’s website

Perkins Coie – CoinLaw

(Android & iOS)

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“Regulations and restrictions of virtual currencies emerge on a near daily basis. The Perkins Coie CoinLaw app is designed to provide an international update and high-level summary of each nation’s current stance on virtual currencies.

This app provides users with:

– a snapshot of the status of virtual currency regulation in any individual country and around the world.

– specific details and dates of actions taken by government officials and entities

– mobile access to the Virtual Currency Report Blog (www.virtualcurrencyreport.com) which offers insight on the complex regulatory, enforcement, investment and consumer protection issues arising in the virtual currency ecosystem

Key Features:

  • Resource library for those wanting to go deeper than just the country snapshot
  • Dozens of country options
  • Shortcut to the cryptocurrency blog

Eversheds Sutherland – Guide to International Employment and Pensions Law

(iOS)

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This application provides an easy to access reference source for employment and pensions law across the globe and allows you to compare legislation in different jurisdictions.

The app includes information on:

  • Key aspects of international employment law, including Restrictive covenants, TUPE, and the lifecycle of an employment contract.
  • The essentials of international Pensions, including what is provided by the state, provision beyond state pensions, setting up a scheme and the statutory and regulatory framework

Key Features:

  • Good array of topics covered, within such a vast area of the law
  • Comprehensive answers, but not overly long

Bird & Bird – Cloud Law

(Android & iOS)

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Whether you are a supplier or a user of cloud services, this app:

  • covers the main issues you need to think about when setting up a cloud service
  • answers your questions on what you need to do to ensure you are compliant
  • makes it easy to understand the implications of operating in and across 19 different jurisdictions in Europe, Asia and The Middle East

Key Features:

  • Comprehensive topic coverage for each of the countries
  • Shortcut to other useful resource
  • Contact for every country

Addleshaw Goddard – Doing Business in Africa

(iOS)

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Addleshaw Goddard’s free app provides guidance on the legal and regulatory considerations for doing business in Africa and a regular flow of legal and other news from across the region.

The app enables the user to click on a country within the continent and have access to information relating to that region in an accessible format.

The app will be free and available to all businesses.

Make sure you’re fully informed when exploring opportunities in Africa: download the app today via Apple’s App Store.

Key Features:

  • Tablet only
  • Map interaction
  • Good topic coverage

What does a great country comparison app look like?

Having looked at dozens of country comparison apps by law firms on the app stores, we can confidently say these are the key elements that make a country comparison app successful, most helpful to clients, and most likely to generate return users:

Comparison capabilities

Most existing country comparison apps require users to navigate between countries to find the answers they need. In terms of user experience, that’s not ideal. To avoid unnecessary jumping between screens, allow the user to select several countries at once and see answers for all of them in one screen ( for an example, see the third screen on our mock-up for an example of what seeing multiple jurisdictions at once might look like).

Keep answers short and add “expand to see more” options

The most effective country comparison apps wouldn’t make users scroll endlessly to find the answers they need. Instead, they’d put the bottom line at the top of all answers and if there’s a need to elaborate on certain answers, they’d add an “expand to see more” option.

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Give users a reason to come back

There are several ways this can be achieved. One is making sure app updates are published often and promptly, with a push notification to let users know. Another is adding a news stream (perhaps via social) to keep users engaged with the latest content.

Show off your expertise

From a marketing perspective, all country comparison apps should make it obvious to the user that your firm has very strong international capabilities, by including as many countries possible in the comparison options.

It’s a reference tool, not an encyclopedia

This is related to keeping things short, but also to ensuring the app uses a down-to-earth and advisory tone and language throughout, as opposed to a stream of legalese.

Would you like to find out more about how law firms are using mobile apps? Check out our legal industry page!