insurance

Ten Things: Preparing for When “Bad Things” Happen

Unfortunately, the world we live in can go from good to shockingly awful in a matters of hours.  There is no starker reminder of this than the horrific events in Paris on November 13, followed by the terrorist assault on a hotel in Mali just days later.  Besides terrorism, disasters arising from natural events (hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, tsunami) and man-made events (plane crash, fire, cyber-attack, workplace violence) lurk in the shadows as well.  This is true for both individuals and businesses: tragedy does not discriminate.

One of the most important tasks you have as in-house counsel is to help ensure that your company is prepared for when disaster — man-made or natural — strikes.  Protection of your fellow employees and corporate assets/shareholder value should always be top of mind.  In some companies, planning for disaster falls within the Risk Management Department, in others it’s a mixture of different departments, including the Legal Department. Some companies simply have not gotten around to planning for disaster. Regardless of where your company sits on this continuum, Legal has a role to play in assisting the company plan for dealing with a crisis.  If not already the case, you should ensure Legal has a seat at the table for such planning. This edition of Ten Things discusses things you can do as in-house counsel to help the business plan for when bad things happen:

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Ten Things: Your Company Has Just Been Sued. Now What?

It’s hard to recall a more disconcerting feeling than getting a copy of a lawsuit filed against your company.  If you have no experience with litigation, this can be a panic-inducing moment.  And no matter how experienced you are handling litigation, your stomach will start to flutter as you read through the allegations.

I was a litigator in private practice and I definitely saw my share of litigation, big and small as in-house counsel.  Over the course of that time, I developed a standard list of “things to do” when a lawsuit came across my desk.  I did this because it’s easy to forget some basic things you need to do up-front to put yourself in the best position to defend the claim. Below are ten things to do when your company gets sued (I have added links to additional resources in key spots).

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