5 key risk management priorities during the pandemic – Emma Dickin, LexisNexis' In-house, Risk & Compliance Specialist

5 key risk management priorities during the pandemic – Emma Dickin, LexisNexis' In-house, Risk & Compliance Specialist


In June and July this year, we have been delighted to support junior in-house counsel from multiple organisations and help them to succeed in their roles through our virtual Aspire summer sessions, in partnership with F-LEX.

This unique series of events is designed to provide you a platform to:

  • Connect with like-minded peers at the early stages of their in-house legal careers
  • Hear invaluable insights from senior counsel on career advice during these uncertain times and,
  • Discover how best to support your organisation as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds


Click here to understand more and to sign-up to our future sessions.

Last week, on Wednesday 24th June, our event focussed around risk management and we heard Emma Dickin, LexisNexis’ In-house, Risk & Compliance Specialist present ‘Risk management: 5 key priorities for organisations during the coronavirus pandemic’. She provided key insights from her work as a risk specialist, and gave tips on how to navigate the in-house counsel role with confidence during the pandemic. Below is a round-up of some of her key takeaways:


The top 5 priority risk areas in the pandemic are business decision-making & leadership, understanding/fulfilling customer needs, securing the supply chain, supporting your organisation’s key resource – its staff and enabling your organisation’s future. See below for key considerations and actions for each:


1.  Business decision-making & leadership


Key considerations

Business decisions will need to be taken quickly

Director’s must ensure their director’s duties are being observed at all times

Is the organisation set up for virtual meetings?

Director’s/execs need access to information to inform business decisions

Strong leadership needs to be demonstrated

Key actions

Assess your organisation’s ability to hold virtual meetings and review existing/new virtual platform supplier contracts and ensure any key risks are understood/mitigated

Advise your organisation’s board to appoint a pandemic coordinator/team to monitor and communicate official advice and to prepare and maintain plans

Ensure advice is sought asap if your organisation runs the risk of insolvency

Ensure full operational and financial information is available to directors/execs on a daily basis


2.  Understanding/fulfilling customer needs


Key considerations

What contracts will be impacted by the pandemic?

What products/services are essential to your customers/clients?

Can we continue to supply our goods/services?

Have any new markets opened up to us?

What will be the financial impact from customer/client financial issues?

Key actions

Evaluate your organisation’s contractual risks and obligations and report back on options

Ensure ongoing or future opportunities/new products identified are adequately protected

Ensure efficient systems and processes are in place

Assess whether there are any contractual or regulatory requirements or constraints that arise from new market opps

Ensure all legal and regulatory requirements are met to enable your organisation to continue to supply its goods/services


3.  Securing your supply chain


Key considerations

What’s your organisation’s exposure to its suppliers?

What are the associated supply chain risks and how can these risks be mitigated?

Which supply contracts are most likely to be impacted and therefore at potential risk of dispute?

Key actions

Work with procurement/ops managers to evaluate supply chain risk and identify opportunities to mitigate these risks

Report to the Board on supply chain risks and mitigation proposals

Review all your organization’s supply contracts

Establish processes to preserve your organisation’s legal rights in event of dispute


4.  Supporting your organisation’s key resource: its staff


Key considerations

- What are the practical (and legal) implications of the C-19 restrictions?

- Has an HR resourcing risk assessment been completed?

- Do employees have the equipment they need to work remotely?

- Are there any security/cyber issues as a result of remote working?

- Are managers/leaders keeping in regular contact with their teams?

Key actions

- Work with HR to complete a resourcing risk assessment

- Review your organisation’s remote working and IT security policies

- If any training is required, ensure contracts with external training suppliers are robust

- Review equipment procurement contracts and licences

- Ensure there is a process for regular comms between your organisation and its employees


5.  Enabling your organisation’s future


Key considerations

- What needs to be done to reopen your workplace?

- Do any insurance claims need to be made?

- Does litigation need to be started/progressed?

- Has the organisation kept in contact with staff/contractors?

- Have relationships been maintained with key suppliers and/or service providers?

- Is your organisation ready for the ‘new norm’?

Key actions

- Check whether your organisation has written contracts with its key suppliers. Are they are sufficiently flexible to allow for future developments?

- Check your contracts with customers. Do they allow your organisation to support them as their own businesses evolve?

- Reflect on what any temporary new working practices may mean for you/your team in the longer term


Poll insights


As part of the session, we ask the attendees a series of questions to gauge the overall response and sentiment to Covid-19 in in-house legal teams. Here are some insights from last Wednesday’s session:

  • 48% of young lawyers said they felt their organisation was ‘quite prepared’ for a pandemic. 38% said they ‘were very prepared’, and 14% said they were ‘not at all prepared’.
  • 45% of respondents said they were ‘quite involved’ in their organisation’s response to Covid-19, 9% said they were ‘very involved’ and 36% said they were ‘barely involved’
  • An overwhelming 60% of event attendees said that the amount of legal advice or guidance that the business has sought from them during Covid-19 had increased


Answers to a poll question:

[Q. What has been one challenge you need support on resulting from working remotely?]


What will future sessions involve?


Professional Development session: Thursday 2 July, 5.30pm - 6.15pm 

Supporting you succeed – how to advance your career in these uncertain times. Various senior counsel

Networking and Social session: Thursday 9 July, 5.30pm - 6.15pm 


How to register


We are running a series of sessions over several weeks. Each session will be bite size as we realise a lot of legal departments are even busier than normal, covering topics to help you succeed.

Please join us for our next session, which will be held on:

Thursday 2nd July, 5.30pm - 6.15pm 

Click here to register.


Further reading


See full details of our In-House Advisor module here


Not a current LexisPSL subscriber? Use the trial form below to understand more.


Related Articles:
Latest Articles:
About the author:

Amy is an established writer and researcher, having contributed to publications, such as The Law Society, LPM, City A.M. and Financial IT. Her role at LexisNexis UK involved leading content and thought leadership, as well as writing research reports, including "The Bellwether Report 2020, Covid-19: The next chapter" and "Are medium-sized firms the change-makers in legal?"