How to manage a crisis
Published by a LexisPSL Risk & Compliance expert

The following Risk & Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How to manage a crisis
  • What is a crisis?
  • The first 12 hours
  • Is there a risk of additional immediate and irreparable harm?
  • How will the crisis team communicate?
  • Restricting communications
  • Confidential labelling
  • Does privilege apply?
  • Litigation privilege
  • Legal advice privilege
  • More...

How to manage a crisis

When a crisis hits, you will be under pressure—pressure to act, pressure to respond, pressure from those to whom you answer internally and potentially from external stakeholders as well. You may be out of your comfort zone, unsure of your reporting obligations, what to divulge, to who and when and the order in which to do things. Your first instinct may be to try and react immediately in response to the agendas of others or, conversely, to clam up and adopt a legal position.

This Practice Note aims to summarise, at high level, the key things to think about in any crisis.

What is a crisis?

There's no officially accepted definition of crisis. Generally it will involve a time:

  1. of intense difficulty or danger

  2. when a difficult or important decision must be made

For guidance on specific types of crises, see subtopics:

  1. Internal investigations

  2. Dawn raids & external investigations

  3. Data breaches—compliance

  4. Business continuity plan

The first 12 hours

The first 12 hours of a crisis are pivotal. Things happen quickly; they can get out of control. Worse still, mistakes can be made.

If you get things right, you can seize control of the problem and set and drive a coherent strategy which shapes the future, optimises the position and manages and limits damage.

Take a step back to understand the wider impact of what has happened,

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