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THE LEGAL 500 > EVENTS > Eye of The Storm - Crisis prevention and management roundtable in Shanghai

Eye of The Storm - Crisis prevention and management roundtable in Shanghai

Continuing our Eye of the Storm: Crisis Prevention and Management roundtable series, GC Magazine and The Legal 500 were joined by FTI Consulting and Shearman & Sterling to continue the crisis management discussion in Shanghai, along with 20 of China’s senior in-house leaders.

Between the pressures of social media and the increasing prevalence of data-driven business, crisis planning is imperative – and far from simple. With whom does the responsibility for crisis management lie? What level of preparation is sufficient? How should crisis plans be tested? And where does the in-house legal and compliance team fit into the picture?

In addition to discussion, questions and anecdotes shared between the attendees, the roundtable boasted a practical edge with the presence of Brian Burke, head of Shearman & Sterling’s Asia litigation practice, and Sandeep Jadav, managing director, technology at FTI Consulting. Both Brian and Sandeep have extensive experience advising clients in crisis situations, and their perspectives ensured participants came away with useful advice on planning for and responding to crises.

When a company is faced with a crisis, communication is key, according to Brian Burke. Burke drew a comparison to a passenger plane, sitting on a runway, having been delayed in its take-off. The passengers will only grow more irate the longer they are forced to sit in their seats. Five minutes pass, then ten, then twenty and a half an hour. No word from the captain, because the captain knows as little as they do. What could the captain possibly say when there is nothing to say? But this silence, he explained, is the worst approach to take. Even if it’s only to say ‘we don’t know what the problem is’, early communication is critical to gaining control of a crisis. Silence is deafening, and frustratingly so.

Sandeep Jadav brought his own experiences from working with companies in the wake of many kinds of crises, and in particular those relating to cyber breaches. He says there’s a tendency for companies to simply ‘build higher walls’ when protecting from digital threats, when what’s really needed are more sentries – a group of talented specialists watching the cyber borders for any signs of breach, so that even attempted attacks can be isolated, investigated and addressed as quickly as possible. He also stressed the importance of instilling a culture of vigilance throughout the organisation. Employees should be trained to spot suspicious e-mails and other surreptitious attempts to infiltrate the company’s network, and the effectiveness of this training should be tested regularly.

GC Magazine and the Legal 500 would like to extend sincere thanks to FTI Consulting and Shearman & Sterling for their partnership in this event, and to all those who attended. We look forward to continuing the crisis management conversation throughout the year via events, research and publications.

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