Letter from Italy: The GC in the time of coronavirus
[Our colleagues in Milan, where our parent company LC Publishing Group srl is located, are all working at home this week. It’s part of the region where the first outbreaks of the corona virus first happened in Italy. As a result, schools across Italy are closed, and most sporting events and public gatherings are cancelled for the time being. We’re giving the floor to Ilaria Iaquinta, who edits and writes for our affiliate site, inhousecommunity.it.]
I admit that before writing an opinion piece on the coronavirus, I thought about it whether to do it for a moment. After all, the last two weeks have been very intense with stories about the coronavirus, or COVID-19. But then I said to myself that my intent is not to create alarmism, nor to calm the minds about the pandemic, nor to give my opinion on something that is bigger than me. I just want to talk about the fact that coronavirus is definitely an important topic for corporate lawyers, since it has several legal implications for their companies.
First of all, those who also follow employment issues, in these days have had to take apart and examine all issues related to personal management, taking care of the operational measures to be followed to ensure the health of employees, from smart working to sanitizing environments. Secondly, there are contracts with third parties. Legal affairs directors also had to manage those, to understand how to minimize the losses in cases where it was not possible to comply with the agreements made, by the company itself or by the other parties involved. Then there are the decisions to be made in the wake of the orders issued by authorities. Then there are those who have given a great help to their communication colleagues, for the news to be disseminated inside and outside the organization.
All in emergency conditions that made reactivity and proactivity necessary to develop a fast action plan capable of minimizing legal risks.
In short, once again, the general counsel is proving to be a precious resource for companies, of great support in crisis situations. The GC is a professional who is able to go further, able to travel an “extra mile” (as the English speakers say). And who knows what he will learn from the management of this emergency and what new roles he will inherit … we will see it together and we will certainly talk about it …
Photo: Harvinder Chandigarh – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0