The in-house lawyer plays a vital role in the successful management of a company’s crisis. The role of the in-house attorney can range from the immediate handling of a corporate incident to developing an internal investigation and advising the Board and shareholders on how best to respond. A key element to successful crisis management is effective communication. It is vital that the in-house lawyer understands how to effectively communicate with Board members, employees, and other stakeholders.
Communication is key
In the wake of a crisis, effective communication is crucial. Whether it’s the aftermath of a natural disaster, a technological problem, or a confrontation, the key to managing a crisis is to keep your stakeholders informed. By using all available communication channels, you can ensure a timely, accurate, and reliable response.
A strategic crisis plan can be a key tool in navigating a crisis. It allows an organization to identify potential threats and risks, assess the impact, and select a response strategy.
A well-developed crisis plan includes a crisis communications team that has access to top levels of management, develops holding statements, and forecasts the possible consequences of a crisis. These plans also allow the organization to communicate effectively with stakeholders.
Board and shareholder communications
The in-house lawyer can vouch for the fact that he or she has a lot to do, and a lot of it to boot. In addition to legal matters, the lawyer in the trenches has to be on guard against the occasional prankster and a hiccup aplenty. A little foresight goes a long way in such an environment. A quick review of the latest boardroom snafu is in order to be on the ball and in the know. Of course, the aforementioned thugs aplenty are just as capable of causing an unintended mishap as their corporate guardian angels. For the sake of the best possible clientele, crisis management lawyers must be prepared to withstand a fair amount of heat. Likewise, the lawyer must have his finger on the pulse regarding boardroom developments in order to avoid a bout of narcissism.
The legal department plays an important role in crisis management. The legal team must ensure that the organization is prepared to deal with the various disasters it can face. The in-house lawyer should consider the challenges of geographical diversity, training culture, and objectivity.
In addition to managing the day-to-day, the legal department should be able to navigate the company through internal investigations. The investigation report can be valuable for employers, revealing potential claims and helping them decide on a strategy for possible litigation.
Properly managed internal investigations are essential to minimizing the impact of a crisis. A good investigation can help an employer understand its damage and provide a defense against accusations of indifference and negligence.
During the investigation, the in-house attorney must be careful to maintain legal professional privilege, which limits the disclosure of information to third parties in litigation. This may include regulators and law enforcement agencies.
If you are a corporate legal team member, you should be aware of your role in successful crisis management. There are key risks that need to be assessed and addressed, and your legal team needs to play a central role in the overall process.
A key role for the legal team is to ensure that the organization’s short and long-term goals are balanced. For example, during a crisis, the legal team will need to supervise the internal investigation. But they should also be prepared to serve in an advisory role, helping to balance the company’s short-term objectives with longer-term legal concerns.
Another important element of in-house lawyers’ role in crisis management is to ensure that the organization’s personnel are well-protected and safe. A number of measures can be taken to reduce risks, such as reducing unnecessary travel and vaccinations.
Review your crisis management policy every six months
If you are a small business, having a crisis management policy is a must. This document will outline the steps you should take to deal with an emergency. It is a living document that should be reviewed at least every six months.
A crisis management plan should include an activation protocol to determine when and how you respond to an emergency. It is also a good idea to map out specific communication channels. This will help ensure your information is communicated to the right people at the right time.
The first step in creating a small business crisis management plan is to identify the relevant stakeholders. This will help you to better understand your business and the potential risks and benefits it can incur. It is also a good idea to find out what the common crisis scenarios are. These can help you to make the best decision possible during a crisis.