Practice/Industry Group Overview
Sutherland attorneys focus on resolving critical crisis management issues so clients can focus on running the business.
Companies and executives rely on Sutherland’s Crisis Management team to mobilize quickly and deliver the business insight, industry knowledge and complex litigation skill to navigate crises and develop legal response strategies. A major crisis can wreak havoc on a company’s image, employee morale, customer and vendor relationships and stock price, creating lasting consequences. Through Twitter and other social media outlets, news of a crisis can spread like wildfire—well before a company can determine exactly what transpired and craft an appropriate response.
Sutherland advises and defends clients facing challenges on a variety of legal fronts, including parallel civil litigation and criminal investigations, multidistrict proceedings, putative class actions, congressional investigations and hearings, regulatory investigations, internal investigations, shareholder direct and derivative claims and corporate disclosure issues. We often serve as the client’s primary counsel and participate in every aspect of the response, including corporate disclosure, media management, investor relations, board communications, litigation and regulatory investigations.
By partnering with our Crisis Management team, clients are able to remain focused on their day-to-day business objectives while Sutherland attorneys develop and, if necessary, help deliver a coordinated response. We mobilize quickly–across practice areas and office locations–and deliver the industry experience and legal skills needed to address the issues at hand.
Minimizing client risks. Sutherland works with internal and external communications consultants to craft responses that minimize legal risk and promote consistency and compliance with regulatory disclosure requirements.
Around-the-clock access. Sutherland partners are available 24/7 to develop and deliver comprehensive legal oversight and consistent messaging throughout the crisis.
Data collection and e-discovery expertise. Faced with complex legal issues, hundreds of witnesses and short deadlines, Sutherland executes responses that range from data production, review and privilege analyses to witness kit preparation.
Litigation expertise. Sutherland litigators are known for successfully and efficiently resolving litigation and arbitration for clients in a variety of industries.
Crisis preparation. Sutherland develops crisis response plans that include periodic audits and drills to evaluate the plan’s effectiveness and internal/external team responsiveness.
Nuts and Bolts
Sutherland’s multidisciplinary approach to crisis management brings together attorneys from numerous practice teams and office locations who offer the industry experience and legal skills required to address clients’ needs.
Effective crisis management requires thoughtful preparation. Partners on our Crisis Management team leverage their industry, government and litigation experience to develop crisis management plans that specifically address a client’s anticipated risks.
The Sutherland team includes many attorneys with industry and business experience. We are adept at balancing a client’s mid- and long-term goals with the immediate needs of in-house counsel and management, such as maintaining accurate corporate disclosures and consistent public statements, avoiding inappropriate corporate admissions, identifying and retaining relevant data, and anticipating future claims.
Clients rely on Sutherland when faced with high exposure disputes on a national stage. Our deep understanding of our clients’ business is applied to address the current crisis and deliver recommendations to avoid future risks. Sutherland’s experience with multiforum litigation, class actions and federal and state multidistrict litigation involving hundreds of litigants and defendants allows our clients to focus on their business objectives while we effectively manage these complex matters to resolution.
- Disclosure and communications
Together with our clients, Sutherland develops and executes strategies for responding to all types of demand for information—from shareholders, rating agencies, auditors, federal and state agencies, opposing counsel in high-stakes litigation, or any other group.
- Data collection, review and e-discovery
Sutherland’s Crisis Management team has created and trained a unique and experienced data review and e-discovery team. The team includes senior staff attorneys, staff attorneys, and more than 50 long-term contract attorneys dedicated to data identification, effective document assessment and production projects. The attorneys are experienced at working together to handle high-pressure, high-stakes situations, and effectively use advanced technology to identify, preserve and assess documents and data.
In today’s 24/7 media environment, it’s more important than ever that a company be prepared to respond to an internal or external crisis. Sutherland’s Crisis Management team—comprised of partners with experience that ranges from litigation and regulatory compliance to internal investigations and electronic data collection—is uniquely qualified to not only help clients identify and mitigate potential risks in advance, but also craft and manage their response if and when the unthinkable occurs.
Sutherland defends international drilling contractor in all matters arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Within hours of the 2010 incident at the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, numerous state and federal agencies began investigating the accident. Our client, the owner of the drill rig, was inundated with inquiries from the media, customers, investors and other interested parties. In addition to working with the company’s communications consultant in responding to numerous media inquiries, Sutherland attorneys guided the client through congressional inquiries and testified on the client’s behalf during congressional hearings. The firm’s data collection, review and production team managed more than 70 million pages of data and responded to more than 50 sets of document requests from litigants and government agencies, including the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the National Academy of Engineering, congressional committees, and the President’s oil spill commission.
Assisted a privately held manufacturing company throughout the U.S. and Canada in investigations spurred by antitrust claims and ultimately negotiated settlements with most key customers without litigation.
Represented a privately held manufacturing company following a dawn FBI search in which it soon became evident that: the client was facing a coordinated investigation in the United States and Canada; its competitor was cooperating with the government; and the crisis threatened the company’s financial viability as well as its long-term customer relationships. We immediately assisted on compliance issues during the FBI search. We represented the company throughout the U.S. and Canadian investigations. This included working with the client and a PR firm to address business fallout and preserving customer relations by taking the unusual step of notifying potentially affected customers prior to entry of a guilty plea. We ultimately negotiated individual settlements with most key customers without litigation.
Served as lead counsel in the crisis management and incident response after Hercules' rig 265 experienced well control issues leading to a blowout.
Served as lead counsel in the crisis management and incident response after Hercules' rig 265 experienced well control issues leading to a blowout. The subsequent fire led to the complete evacuation of the crew. The fire lasted for three to four days, with the initial BSEE investigation beginning as soon as the crew members and coastguard boats arrived onshore. The well bridged more than three days later, initiating a salvage mission. Investigations began to determine the cause of the blowout and how to prevent similar actions from occurring again. The crew was all safe. Sutherland has not only served as lead counsel in the incident response, but we have performed all of the document review, retention, and processing for Hercules in this matter and represented Hercules in two additional matters relating to the incident.