- Posted by Poston Communications
- On December 9, 2019
- ACC Georgia, corporate counsel, crisis checklist, crisis communications, Daily Report, Dave Poston, in-house counsel, In-House Georgia, legal departments, Megan Paquin
In the December 9 “In-House Georgia” special section of the Daily Report, Poston Communications CEO Dave Poston and Vice President Megan Paquin examine the important role corporate legal departments play in crisis management and provide a crisis checklist for in-house counsel.
“Legal departments bring unique skills and can serve as proactive business counselors to advance business initiatives and innovations,” Poston and Paquin say. “Moving from a traditional legal stance of ‘no’ to a positive starting point of ‘yes’ is critical. One way is to learn about the goals and expectations for internal and external communications professionals. Legal and communications are not operating in conflict with one another and, in fact, can work together!”
They explain that, traditionally, public relations firms were retained by C-suite business executives, internal communications departments or law firms. However, legal departments and legal operations professionals are now hiring PR agencies directly and often separately from those hired by their internal communications teams.
Poston and Paquin, who lead Poston Communications’ Crisis and Litigation PR team, recommend 20 steps legal departments can take as part of a crisis checklist. These include:
- Define your crisis communications team for response, including internal and external communications professionals.
- Document all activities related to the crisis stages of plan, respond and recover. Was a plan created? How many business units were involved? What elements were created? Was the plan tested? How effective was specific incident response? What long-term internal and external communications actions were decided? Were company decisions made differently?
- Conduct media training for legal department members as well as company leadership.
- Debrief, measure and report on crisis communications on a regular basis. How much was the legal department’s focus on crisis communications a contributor to reduced legal risk? How much did it contribute to increased revenue, improved culture and overall brand value?