Crisis Management

Morgan Lewis recognizes the formidable challenges clients face in sudden or emerging crises triggered by catastrophic events, significant government investigations, product recalls, mass torts, data security breaches, or alleged compliance or governance failures. Lawyers on our veteran crisis-management team employ a strategic and business-focused approach to addressing such emergencies. We combine rapid response during the first critical hours and days of a crisis with strategic guidance to mitigate long-term legal, business, governmental, regulatory, constituent, and public relations impacts—an approach we have honed from our experience as counsel in some of the largest and most visible crises of the last several decades.

Our team helps alleviate the enormous strain that crises impose on those within an organization who must carry out their day-to-day duties while shepherding their business through the ordeal. Our global crisis managers assist in prioritizing issues, easing internal stresses, developing and implementing communication strategies, securing and managing data, and formulating and executing legal strategy. Our approach is aimed at giving our clients the highest probability of achieving their immediate and long-term goals while minimizing disruption and adverse business impact.

When a catastrophic or other highly visible event occurs, the first response often necessarily focuses on containing or minimizing harm, establishing triage, and gathering facts in anticipation of media or constituent inquiries, governmental investigations, and private litigation. The aftereffects of an emergency can include civil and criminal investigations by government agencies or legislative officials—including those at the federal, state, provincial, and local levels—and private class action and other litigation brought by allegedly affected individuals or businesses. In the case of a public company, there may be litigation or investigations relating to the impact on shareholders or other investors. Securing insurance coverage can be critical. Significant communications issues with directors, shareholders, employees, customers, and key constituents typically arise and must be managed carefully.

Some crises may evolve relatively slowly, with the full spectrum of future issues not immediately apparent. The first sign of a crisis could arise from a governmental subpoena or request for information, individual litigation, whistleblower allegation, news exposé, or an internally identified compliance or governance failure. Identifying a potential crisis and developing a strategy for containing, addressing, and recovering from the crisis require an experienced eye able to examine the situation from a number of angles and to modify and update responses as needed—skills that the Morgan Lewis crisis-management team has honed.

Our crisis managers understand that a crisis—even one with predominantly legal challenges—must be viewed from the client’s business perspective. Successfully navigating a crisis requires accounting for its impact on the organization and all of its constituents, including directors, officers, shareholders, lenders, customers, regulators, and the general public. We also understand the advantage of getting in front of a crisis whenever possible and, as a result, many of our greatest successes come from the mitigation or declination of actions—helping clients avoid crises altogether or emerge from situations more quickly and with less financial, reputational, and political harm.

All crises are disruptive and have potential business impact. We have guided clients through crises of all sizes, from confidential investigations resulting in no action to some of the most public and complex crises in recent history. Every day we work with clients to avoid potential crises and minimize risk.