Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

How to Prepare for a Crisis in Your Firm

Do you consider yourself a good crisis manager? Want to become a better one?

Start by honing your communication skills. When the sky is falling, the ability to articulate a path to safety in a clear, calm and consistent manner is essential.

Another key: be a good collaborator.

Crisis teams are like jazz bands,” says Zach Olsen, president of the crisis communications firm Infinite Global, in this ABA Journal article. “They need specialists who can play well with others and understand the value of each member. This means crisis communications professionals and lawyers understand what each is trying to accomplish. It also means understanding the client’s history and the voice in which it communicates.”

Here are some other characteristics of a good crisis manager, according to Olsen:

  • Responsiveness
  • Competence
  • Empathy
  • Management
  • Assertiveness
  • Perspective

“Often, the core of crisis communications counseling is to de-escalate a story for media and other audiences,” Olsen writes. “That goes for communicating with the executive team as well. While it’s important to always acknowledge the seriousness of a situation, it’s also crucial not to exaggerate it. Because they’re often tied so emotionally to their jobs, clients can feel personally responsible for the organization’s problems and overreact. It is the job of the lawyer and crisis manager to put into perspective the problem at hand and, if appropriate, counsel against action as your recommended action.”

Read “What Do Clients in Crisis Really Need from Lawyers” in the ABA Journal here.

Lawyers Mutual is here for North Carolina lawyers. Our Byte of Prevention blog brings you vital news, alerts and practice management pointers. Our Client Services Department is available to help you work through challenges, whether it’s building teamwork or improving your bottom line. And our Claims Department is by your side when trouble strikes. Stay ahead of the curve by being insured with Lawyers Mutual.


Lawyers Mutual HELP (Handling Emergency Legal Problems) Team

What would happen to your practice in the event of a medical emergency? Who would take care of your cases and clients? What about if your law partner unexpectedly retires – or dies?

HELP is available. 

Lawyers Mutual’s HELP team is expert at Handling Emergency Legal Problems. Led by our in-house claims attorneys and outside counsel, our team has the training and resources to guide you through difficult professional times.

We will assess your crisis situation. We will come up with a plan. We will HELP make sure your clients are not harmed. Every law practice is different. Every crisis is different.

Call for HELP when needed.


Lawyers Mutual Disaster Planning & Recovery Practice Guide

The news images are shocking. Whether it is tornado damage in the mid-west or flooding after a hurricane in eastern North Carolina, disasters can strike at any time and can come in many different forms. Hurricanes come with advanced warning allowing time to prepare; others happen so quickly they are over before you have time to think.

No matter what type of disaster you face, careful planning can make surviving more likely. Proper leadership makes surviving a disaster easier. Avoiding or reducing the severity of disasters begins with assessing the risks associated with location and office procedures.

Once risks are assessed, the disaster recovery plan can be developed so that processes for minimizing damage and recovering afterwards can be established. What are some of the pitfalls to this approach?

The hardest and most important part of a disaster plan is choosing a leader to be in charge should something go wrong. This person must be someone that everyone in the office will listen to for instruction. Also, this person must be given the authority to make independent decisions for the firm. For larger firms, creating an emergency response team would be appropriate.

Download a free copy of the Lawyers Mutual Disaster Planning & Recovery Practice Guide.

Lawyers Mutual brings you practical pointers for designing a satisfying career. We’re here as you adjust to practicing law post-COVID. Our email newsletter “Practice Reimagined” offers timely tips and valuable links on wellness, work-life balance and quality of life – delivered straight to your in-box. Lawyers helping lawyers. It’s what we’ve been doing since 1978.



About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

Read More by Jay >

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