Crisis Response &
Incident Investigation

Archive for March, 2012

Corporate Crisis Management Checklist

Posted on: March 15th, 2012

While the details and legal issues in any given crisis will undoubtedly vary based on the company involved and the level of public impact, effective crisis management requires the quick application of policies and procedures common to any crisis situation.

A company’s core disaster recovery and business continuity plan should include an identified Crisis Management Team, along with crisis management plans that are reviewed and tested annually.

Sutherland’s Crisis Management and Complex Litigation Team works with clients to develop a crisis management plan and checklist to provide a clear outline for the steps that need to be followed when disaster strikes.

The checklist should include:

  • Activation of a Crisis Management Team comprised of a small group of senior personnel capable of reacting promptly in a crisis situation.
  • Assessment of the situation and determination of any immediate actions that need to take place such as issuance of a press release, suspension of trading, regulatory board notifications, plant shutdowns, etc.
  • Collection and preservation of all pertinent facts and information, including interviews with all possible participants and witnesses, internal and external to the company; and review of any need for director and officer indemnification and/or retention of separate counsel.
  • Preservation of documents and evidence, including possible suspension of document destruction programs and consideration of the need for computer back-ups.
  • Completion of necessary and appropriate disclosures and reporting to governmental agencies and law enforcement agencies at all levels (federal, state, local, EPA, OSHA, FINRA, SEC, etc.)
  • Development of a comprehensive but flexible public relations strategy, creation of relevant FAQs, and issuance of policy statements to employees and other key stakeholders, including outside counsel.
  • Establishment of procedures to protect confidential and proprietary company information as well as procedures to protect against admissions of liability.
  • Development of procedure for centralizing and coordinating all external responses for communications, including press, regulators, analysts, and others.

It is imperative that a company’s Crisis Management Team address each step on the checklist in a timely and efficient manner in order to anticipate any necessary next steps, and to be prepared for changes in the plan as the crisis unfolds.