Head of the Data Protection Lab: Laurine Delforge

Head of the Data Protection Lab: Laurine Delforge

Data Protection Lab



In addition to my work and family, I have a strong passion for hockey. I played for the national team in the past and served as an umpire twice at the Olympics. The sense of team spirit and the importance of working together towards a common goal in hockey are similar to the values we uphold at Ask Q. As an umpire, I call critical decisions quickly in a world that is not always clear-cut. This is comparable to the challenges faced in the field of Data Protection.

Head of the Data Protection Lab: Laurine Delforge

Why did you choose Ask Q?

I am a competitor by nature, always eager to learn, grow and get better. I draw motivation from tackling complex challenges and exploring bold ideas, and Ask Q stands out from the crowd when it comes to disrupting the status quo.


Ask Q also offers me great comfort in making my hockey dreams come true. Sport is a big part of my life, and I am grateful to be able to combine my sporting and career aspirations successfully. I strive to ‘give back’ by using the competencies I acquired from my Olympic experiences to the benefit of the team and clients. 

What challenges do you see in the market today?

Data protection is still a quiet young legal discipline and, therefore, constantly evolving. Rapid digitalisation and tech innovations are challenging for most businesses. 

Hockey is a very fast game, like data protection.

GDPR compliance has become one of the challenges every company must face to build and maintain a successful business. The problem is that many people don’t understand it or find the data protection legislation too complex. Ignoring doesn’t make it go away, though. On the contrary, hefty administrative fines and severe reputation damage are only a few of the possible consequences. In my opinion, data protection is not only a necessary evil, but also a strategic asset for businesses that want to establish a relationship of trust with their customers and gain a competitive advantage.


What are the solutions the Data Protection Lab offers?

We find solutions that improve clients' compliance without disturbing the business too much.

“We make compliance lean and mean.”

We are on a mission to make compliance with data protection laws a painless reality. We seek to revolutionize the way we think about GDPR. We want to make it easy: easy to understand and easy to implement.

“We focus on what matters most.”

We refuse to err on the side of overkill. We believe firing a bazooka to kill mosquitoes is not the right approach. Every business needs to take risks, but you must make sure your actions are calculated. In short, we take risks but don’t leave anything to chance.

“We go beyond legal.”

We bring legal expertise and believe in a holistic approach that starts with a thorough understanding of a client's uniqueness. We also partner with security experts and use our commercial know-how to help the business thrive.


What separates the Data Protection Lab from other legal service providers?

We are a team that aspires to evolve constantly. We dare to look at ourselves in the mirror and change things if we believe it’s necessary. We are not afraid to think outside the box and develop new ideas. Everyone in our team has the same mindset: ‘There is no standard way of doing it’. 


We are working on a risk-based approach. We don't believe in perfect compliance. We prefer to gauge the risks and pragmatically tackle the main ones. Sometimes, that means we must dig into it deeper, and ensure we extend our knowledge continuously.


We can also make a difference because we share common ground and generate synergies with the Contracts Lab and Legal Operations Lab. Our colleagues from the Contract Lab assist us with negotiating, drafting and reviewing data protection-related contracts, like data processing agreements or data transfer agreements.


Implementing GDPR also requires a lot of project management skills. That’s where we reach out to our Legal Operations colleagues to create processes and use technologies that create value for our clients.


Mastering complex legislations is one thing; translating it into pragmatic and acceptable solutions sometimes is a whole different ball game. These are lessons I also learned throughout my officiating journey. You don’t learn to be a good umpire just by watching hockey. You must understand what the players need at a particular time and read the game. That takes a lot of practice on the field. It’s the same with data protection: it comes down to skills and competencies, making Ask Q stand out.

What type of clients do you work for?

We are particularly known for our expertise in the life science industry, because of our strong link with Quinz, but our focus is expanding to many other sectors. 


We typically work for companies that deal with a lot of sensitive data and have clients active in various fields, including telecoms and media, insurance, manufacturing, etc.


The company’s legal counsel or data protection officer is often our primary contact, but we get to work with many stakeholders. If we need to identify the security measures to perform a data protection impact assessment, we talk to the IT department. If we need to negotiate a data processing agreement with one of the company’s B2B customers, we align with the sales team. And if our client needs strategic advice, we know how to inform the CEO about the options available in a clear risk-benefit summary. 

Who’s the Data Protection Team?

“All members of our Data Protection team have one thing in common: they are all visionaries with a down-to-earth approach.” 

Visionaries because we want to shake up the status quo with alternative thinking. We are constantly exploring new ways to fulfil our missions and draw the contours of tomorrow's privacy. Down-to-earth because we want to shine light into the dark of data protection by providing simplified advice and support and implementing pragmatic solutions.


There are, of course, skilled GDPR freelance professionals around the globe, but they lack our team spirit and the possibility to share know-how and perfect templates and tools constantly. 


And, of course, there are also a lot of lawyers who focus on data protection and who are all highly competent. Although their in-depth knowledge is truly impressive, they often don’t manage to integrate their knowledge into pragmatic solutions for the business. 


That is where we come in. We act and think like in-house counsels, close to the business. That means we can place GDPR in perspective and avoid overkill. And if we’re faced with a question that requires other legal expertise or a couple more hands to get the job done in time, then we can turn to the rest of the Ask Q team.

What does the future look like?

Since the start of Ask Q, we have grown fast and successfully led many exciting projects with the Data Protection Lab. The words of our happy clients are the best proof of that, and also the best source of motivation. We are committed to developing even better future solutions and are looking to productize them to enhance efficiency and improve the overall customer experience. 


Our work will never end because we see a new wave of data-related laws, like the Data Governance Act, the European Health Data Space Regulation, the AI Regulation, and many more. We stand in the starting blocks, ready to take on any challenge that comes our way.


And last but not least, on the personal side, my dream of being selected as a hockey umpire for the Olympics in Paris just got confirmed! (big smile)

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