When dire circumstances loom, experience and foresight matter.
Crises come without warning and require swift, decisive action based on real-world, hands-on experience. A solid crisis management plan—and an experienced partner poised to act when an issue arises—can make an enormous difference.
As a national law firm, Ballard Spahr develops strategic crisis plans that are as holistic as they are specific. Each plan is applicable to the unique characteristics of a client’s industry, geographic location, operations model, and risk profile—allowing clients to prepare and respond quickly, while never losing sight of long-range legal, reputational, and management concerns. Our work blends legal advocacy with public, media, community, government, and shareholder relations. When a crisis occurs, we are ready to assist—whether it is with a data breach, a product recall, a government investigation, an emergency among a leadership team, a major supply-chain issue, or a natural disaster.
The attorneys of Ballard Spahr’s Crisis Management Team deliver superior client service and exceptional results by addressing crises in three phases:
- Adequate planning before the crisis: We audit current plans and risks, create compliance strategies for specific contingences, recommend policy revisions, and facilitate the implementation of preventative measures.
- Execution and mitigation during the crisis: Our lawyers help with risk mitigation, advise on public relations and media and communication with government stakeholders. We guide regulatory compliance efforts, counsel on evidence preservation, and help with insurance procedures/claims, as well as provide emergency litigation strategy.
- Continuity of operations after the crisis: Ballard Spahr’s Crisis Management attorneys advise through the post-crisis environment, conducting after-action reviews and implementing new policy measures according to lessons learned.
Crisis in all forms can be the genesis for financial distress. Such distress can result from a broken supply chain that leaves a company without vital materials from a critical supplier. It can result from a failed merger, misconduct, or be the net effect of a deal gone awry. It could also result from a large fine or judgment a company cannot afford. The attorneys of Ballard Spahr’s Bankruptcy and Restructuring Group advise on all facets of financial distress, including restructurings, workouts, the refinancing of debt, creditor-debtor litigation, asset dispositions and recapitalizations, reorganizations, and liquidations, both in and outside of formal proceedings. They are adept at quickly grasping complex situations and developing a strategic path forward. Their ability to realign situations at risk for going sideways is indispensable to our Crisis Management team.
The attorneys of our Commercial Litigation group protect clients’ rights and interests and minimize their risks in high-stakes, complicated legal emergencies. They use their experience honed trying cases in state and federal courts throughout the country to quickly devise and implement approaches that not only respond to budding crises, but carry clients past them. Whether our clients need to file litigation to prevent a crisis or defend themselves in emergency proceedings, our Commercial Litigation attorneys have the expertise and agility to protect our clients’ interests.
Crises can require advocacy and counsel in Washington, D.C., state capitals, and city halls across the country. We have the diplomatic skill and foresight to step in if an issue rears its head. Clients look to our government relations attorneys because of our ability to communicate with senior levels of government leadership and utilize our years of government experience and familiarity with governmental officials and agencies. And instead of simply reacting, we constantly anticipate issues and identify legislative and regulatory initiatives that affect our clients’ interests. Our Government Relations and Public Policy Group include former high-ranking government officials at the federal, state, and local level.
Our Labor and Employment team has extensive background handling sensitive, critical matters that need to be addressed―and, ideally, dispensed with―as quickly and with as little attention as possible. Our Labor and Employment attorneys have handled high-profile crises involving allegations of harassment and workplace misconduct, unfair labor practices, OSHA emergencies, and issues involving large-scale reductions in force. We also have advised on employment issues during natural disasters, public health emergencies, and matters involving the significant disruption of corporate services. In the event of an unforeseen business closure or disruption due to a disaster, we advise on workforce and related employment law regulations and help oversee a return to business operations.
Attorneys from our nationally recognized Media and Entertainment Group help clients navigate the rocky terrain of crisis and post-crisis publicity. Collectively, they have played a leading role in many of the most significant First Amendment cases in recent years and can adapt that nimbleness and alacrity to crisis situations. They provide pre-publication review of press statements, advise on working with members of the media, and provide guidance on managing the news cycle. Furthermore, our Media and Entertainment attorneys—many of whom are former professional editors and reporters—can integrate seamlessly with in-house communications teams or external public relations agencies, quickly forming a productive alliance that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Organizations face a multitude of threats to the integrity and privacy of their data. Members of Ballard Spahr’s Privacy and Data Security team have engaged in hundreds of responses covering every major type of cyber incident, including network intrusions, identity and intellectual property theft, ransomware, and internet-facilitated fraud. We devise strategies for cyber incident notifications, and implement post-incident response and remediation measures. We also maintain an Emergency Response Hotline that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The attorneys of our Securities and Capital Markets team advise on public company- and governance-related issues such as SEC and Nasdaq disclosures in the event of the incapacitation of an executive officer or other high- level departure from the company. Our team is experienced in counseling and providing guidance to executive management and boards of directors in preparing crisis processes and strategies and in implementing the plans and responding to particular events, like accusations of insider trading and stock manipulation, SEC enforcement or market turmoil. With their lengthy track record of stepping in on high-profile, business-critical matters, they are able to guide companies through the potential shock to stock price that can follow a crisis.
Ballard Spahr’s White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations lawyers lead complex and sensitive internal investigations quickly and discreetly. We have conducted internal investigations involving potentially damaging manufacturing issues, securities and environmental violations, and possible violations of internal codes and ethics. Many of our attorneys held high-level positions in state and federal agencies and have the background to capably and confidently use their investigative skills to untangle high-touch matters.