How to Move the Legal Department Forward in Times of World Crisis

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on July 21, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Last week we had one of the worst days of news in recent history. The ongoing Israeli conflict in Gaza, and the downed Malaysian Airlines flight 17 put front and center what we often try to forget: there are world conflicts that persist and life in other countries is not as safe as it can be here.

While we're insulated in our corporate cubes and offices, you may think that outside of news, these global crises don't have an impact on us. But you're wrong. Every world crisis can be a potential corporate crisis if you don't take the following steps.

1. Does Your Company Have an Office There?

First things first, does your company have an office in the area affected? If so, you must have a plan in place outlining how, or if, business will move forward in problematic areas. If your company doesn't have an office in a crisis area, then ask if any of your suppliers, manufacturers or service providers are based or located in affected areas. If their business is disrupted, it's only a matter of time before your company's business is disrupted.

2. Does Your Company Have Personnel There?

A very close second question is, do you have feet on the ground in the affected area? Do you have employees there for business travel? Do you have employees based there? Get a head count and determine whether your company needs to start planning to get people out of the affected area.

3. Do Personnel Have Pending Travel to the Area?

Does your company have any staff with planned travel to the affected area in the near future? Those travel plans will need to be reevaluated to consider employee safety and whether the transaction will still go through.

4. What Pending Transactions Are Affected?

Are you about to sign a deal with a company in the affected area? You may want to put that deal on hold. It's for your company to decide (and for you to advise) whether it wants to take on the risk of doing business in a turbulent area.

It's important to look at your company's legal issues through a global lens. What may seem like an sad headline can mean business and legal problems for your company. By being proactive you can make a very bad situation slightly less terrible -- at least for your company.

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