General counsel talk about how they and their companies are coping with COVID-19

In a client note, the law firm Burns & Levinson writes that the In-House Advisor convened a video conference of 15 general and corporate counsel to talk about their businesses’ respohnse to the COVID-19 crisis. The in-house lawyers, says the firm, came from small companies to multinationals. The roundtable discussion began with a brief presentation by two crises management experts, T.J. Winck and Dan Cence, of Solomon, McCown and Cence.

Some of the key takeaways :

  • Repeatedly and consistently send out messages to everyone. You are better off saying too much than too little. Among other things, the in-house counsel attending said that their businesses are: Sending out daily emails ; having “town hall” meetings with questions and answers once per week; maintaining an intranet page with updated COVID information.
  • Be sure to have at least one member of your crisis management Team constantly monitoring the CDC and WHO, as new information is constantly coming out. And while we would like to think that the situation won’t get any worse, your crisis management team needs to assume it will get worse and figure out what it will do in each successive “worse” scenario.
  • In terms of working from home, it is critical to be sure that workers who have access to confidential information use company approved systems for accessing it and do not transfer such information to personal laptops, etc. And if you are concerned with how your employees are handling the situation and/or viewing the company’s response to the crisis, you could send out a questionnaire, as one general counsel noted his company did.

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