Unfortunately, the world we live in can go from good to shockingly awful in a matter 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: