Lawyers can avoid crises by planning effectively and determining the best person to respond to the situation, according to Furia Rubel Founder and CEO Gina Rubel.
The topic of crisis communications was front and center during a recent panel at the Women Influence and Power in Law Conference in Washington, D.C. The panel, titled “Legal’s Active Role in Managing a PR Crisis,” featured insights from Rubel, Rachel Lubert, general counsel and chief compliance officer at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and Stacia Cardille, strategy director for legislative oversight at Google. The panel was moderated by Janet Kim, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
In the article for Corporate Counsel, Rubel emphasized the importance of control in crisis management.
“If it can be controlled, it’s not a crisis. Sometimes as attorneys we may view something as a crisis and it may not necessarily be. Most incidents can be controlled and may not have to become a crisis. Oftentimes, we create the crisis ourselves.”
Rubel also noted that law firms should be careful in choosing a representative to publicly comment on a situation.
“Crisis equals chaos, and incident doesn’t have to be chaos. For example, you may be expecting a lawsuit. And when that lawsuit hits, if you have your most senior person speak about it, you’ve now created a crisis.”
She reinforced the importance of developing a crisis plan.
“It is the most important insurance policy you will ever have, because then you will identify all of the gaps.”
Rubel also highlighted the need to involve the legal department in crisis management.
“We require access to counsel because oftentimes a client might come to us and they’re going to create a crisis. Having access to counsel who respects what we bring to the table is really important. I have been in contentious situations with in-house counsel where we’re making a recommendation and they will take an opposite approach and that’s hard. And sometimes they’re right, and sometimes we’re right. And sometimes you’re rolling the dice.”
Read the full article: ‘Most Incidents Can Be Controlled’: Legal Chiefs Say Keeping a Level Head Can Avert Crises [Subscription Required]
Additional Crisis Communications Resources for Law Firms:
- The Role of General Counsel in Times of Crisis with Maria Feeley, Chief Legal Officer of Washington and Lee University
- Stories with Traction: Is Your Company Ready for a Crisis? [Gina Rubel Featured in Podcast Interview]
- Is your Organization’s Crisis Plan Ready for a Real Crisis? [Podcast]
- Resilience in Times of Crisis and Calm with Renee Branson [Podcast]