David Onorato, Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, discussed crisis management during a Thought Leadership Spotlight Presented by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. In his presentation, "Crisis Management: Three Key Steps," Onorato noted that general counsels should be prepared for problems that may arise in the future.
According to Onorato, general counsels who develop protocols for how communications and documents are properly created can succeed. Document management protocols are critical, Onorato said, and these protocols should address document retention policies that an organization's IT department have reviewed. Onorato also noted that an organization should create a crisis management team that includes staff members who understand an organization's protocols: "In terms of the specific members of the crisis management team, just take a look and think about who they should be and then think about what the protocol should be ... [The team will] probably include those responsible for investor relations, investigations and then of course, the line of business."
A crisis management team leader should have good communication skills, be able to make good judgements and take responsibility for triage in an emergency, Onorato said. In addition, this leader, Onorato said, should have sufficient authority to ensure that an organization's employees will follow him or her during crises: "You start off with protocols around ... how to write documents, who gets them and controlling circulation. You have to balance up front the broad circulation versus narrow.