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All crises — whether arising from negative publicity, a catastrophic event or a corporate emergency — require a coordinated response on an expedited timeline. Sidley has a proven track record of helping clients manage various types of crises in which quick action, strategic insight and litigation know-how are critical to protecting a company’s brand. Working closely with our clients in both responding to and handling crises, we provide tailored solutions to fit the circumstances of all situations.

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2021 Chambers Crisis & Risk Management ranks Sidley one of two leading firms in the United States, and among the top six firms globally for crisis management. The publication praises the firm’s ability to assist with diverse challenges, including business-critical threats. Clients are, “very impressed with the way [Sidley has] been able to predict how the various crises in the UK and U.S. will play out,” and how the team is able to “advise in real time and proactively think ahead to the next stages and beyond.”

Chambers also notes Sidley’s capacity to lead matters from the UK and U.S., that the firm has “well-reputed teams of experts in APAC, across Europe and in the Middle East,” and that the firm’s advice is often closely coordinated across multiple global jurisdictions.

Ranked among the leading firms in the U.S. and Global-wide for Crisis Management
2021 Chambers Crisis & Risk Management

Sidley’s global Crisis Management and Strategic Response team members include former U.S. Department of Justice officials and prosecutors, White House attorneys, and former senior U.S. and international enforcement and regulatory officials. With a global footprint and a team of highly experienced practitioners, Sidley regularly provides instant and continuous support to organizations navigating complex and challenging crises throughout the world. We partner with industry leaders, Boards, and Special Committees to provide tailored solutions to address volatile and ever-shifting crises attacking corporations on multiple fronts and unfolding at a rapid pace.

In a crisis, clients may be facing significant reputational damage and a variety of threats. There may be a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and other regulatory investigation, remediation of the matter at hand, civil lawsuits, negative press, and board turmoil — all at the same time. Or there may be international agencies involved such as the UK Serious Fraud Office, UK Financial Conduct Authority, or the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong.

Multifaceted Experience and Capabilities

We have exceptional experience guiding clients through such crises by establishing and managing both the initial and long-term legal strategies and assisting with remediation efforts. Our work includes matters that involve components of some or all of the following:

  • Internal investigations, including whistleblower complaints
  • Cybersecurity breach incident response and prevention
  • Response to investigations by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), state attorneys general, and other oversight bodies
  • Managing legal, policy, political, or public relations considerations related to an investigation
  • Counseling on compliance, governance, litigation risks and potential exposure arising from alleged misconduct, investigative findings, and negative publicity
  • Advising boards, audit and special committees
  • Sexual misconduct and other employment-related allegations
  • Environmental accident response
  • Mass tort litigation and multidistrict litigation involving product liability, product defects, derailments, air crashes, industrial accidents, and toxic tort exposures
  • Congressional inquiry or subpoena response
  • Securities disclosure issues
  • Crisis preparedness including practices designed to position boards to provide effective oversight in crisis situations

Risk Management and Preventive Action

In addition, Sidley is frequently engaged to help organizations proactively identify and mitigate risks before they materialize into crisis scenarios. Drawing upon our experience in highly regulated and high profile industries, our Corporate Risk Management and Critical Matters team crafts diagnostic risk assessments that efficiently detect and address threats to clients’ operations, strategies, and reputations to circumvent current issues, latent liabilities, and emerging transactional, enforcement, and litigation challenges. We work closely with management throughout our collaborative diagnostic review process to, ideally, prevent adverse events. Should a critical scenario arise, our team’s knowledge of clients’ businesses and risk profiles helps ensure implementation of prompt and holistic strategic action plans.

An Industry-Focused Approach

While Sidley is well-positioned to deploy swift, well-planned responses across all sectors, we have dedicated industry-focused Crisis Management teams “at the ready” with extensive experience in several industries and specialty areas, including:

“When companies in crisis need a law firm with the expertise and the respect of an investigating agency, they regularly turn to Sidley Austin.”
2019 Global Investigations Review

An Insider’s Perspective

Our team includes several former U.S. federal and state prosecutors and officials, as well as a number of international enforcement and regulatory officials. Many served at high levels within the DOJ, SEC, and other key investigative and prosecutorial arms of the government. Our group includes the former Deputy Attorney General of the United States, a former Deputy Public Prosecutor in Singapore, a former prosecutor for UK’s Financial Services Authority, a former senior attorney at the Ministry of Commerce of China, over a dozen former Assistant United States Attorneys, and several former DOJ and White House Counsel officials, and over 20 SEC alumni, including former Associate and Assistant Directors of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. Others have held senior positions at government agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Agriculture.

With firsthand knowledge of how government agencies conduct investigations and prosecutions, we are able to help clients navigate these processes efficiently and effectively. We understand the level of trust that is required to handle the challenges that arise during and after a crisis. Our lawyers know how to balance internal and external effects, relationship dynamics and optics. We have decades of experience serving as our clients’ first response team.

How Sidley Adds Value

We collaborate with clients to help frame the narrative, recognizing your reputation is paramount and media attention will only continue. Steps often include:

  1. Mapping out a strategy based on clear objectives considering all stakeholders
  2. Managing immediate and longer-term communications, including internal and external strategies
  3. Preserving and gathering factual evidence
  4. Interacting with regulators and other government agencies proactively and in response to inquiries
  5. Coordinating all of the moving pieces so that you can focus on achieving your business goals