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None of us will ever forget where we were or how we heard the news on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. Sidley Austin Brown & Wood people have an extra reason to remember. One of our two New York offices — about 600 lawyers and staff — was located in the north tower of the World Trade Center. We were tremendously fortunate only to have lost one person. But how were we going to get these 600 people back to work — and experience some sense of normalcy after the unthinkable? That was our challenge. Sidley Austin has 1,450 lawyers in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and provides a broad range of integrated legal services to meet the needs of large and small businesses as well as governments, institutions, associations, foundations, professional firms and individuals. On Sept. 10, we were still in the process of completing our merger with New York-based Brown & Wood. We were busily planning the consolidation of our two New York offices into the World Trade Center. We were evaluating how to bring the merged firm to a common technology platform, from two different document management systems, two different e-mail systems, two different telephone systems and two networks. On Sept. 11, all of that planning, all of those important tasks, took a back seat to keeping the firm operating under the worst possible circumstances. The north tower collapsed at about 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. We had full e-mail functionality restored for all New York lawyers by Thursday morning, less than 48 hours after the disaster. By Friday morning, document management was available — via the merged system. On Monday morning, Sept. 17, we officially opened our expanded midtown office, where we had space in one location for the combined personnel of the two New York offices. This space was equipped with phones, networked PCs, printers, etc. It was business as usual, if more cramped than anyone would have wanted. The bottom line: We were never down. Our lawyers were serving our clients throughout our recovery period. I won’t go into great detail here about the timeline and specific actions that we took to achieve what we did. We will focus instead on keys to our success and lessons learned. Our core business continuation strategy in the technology area is based on several key concepts: � Maniacal approach to backups. We consider producing reliable backups to be one of the most important functions of our department. We send tapes off site daily. In many cities, our off-site location is outside the metropolitan area. The latter fact served us well after Sept. 11, when travel into and out of Manhattan was prevented or restricted. � Focus on running our daily operation to perfection. New technology avails little if core systems do not run well. We focus tremendous energy on developing, documenting and reviewing/revising standard operating procedures and best practices. � Standardized hardware (network, PCs, phones) with standard images. To equip our combined New York space quickly, we called on all of our offices to contribute equipment: PCs, printers, phones, network gear. Because of our emphasis on standards, we knew this equipment would work in our environment. We had standard images and “build” procedures for PCs and servers, enabling us to put equipment into service in an expedited time frame. � Serving our lawyers the way our lawyers serve the firm’s clients. We set a high bar for our people and foster a culture of service and of quality. In the days and weeks following Sept. 11, people worked enormously long hours — producing high quality work with no complaint. These core principles served us well after Sept. 11. But we learned (or affirmed) some lessons as well. � You cannot plan for a plane hitting your building. Accept the fact that you will have to improvise to some degree in virtually any disaster. However, if disaster recovery basics are “routine,” you can concentrate on the unique aspects of any given situation. � You cannot have too many friends. Clients, vendors, co-counsel, even competitors offered support and assistance. � Practice, practice, practice. Your staff needs to be able to perform basic disaster recovery tasks in their sleep. � The fact of backups is not enough. They must be quality-checked, verified and viable. � Understanding the relative priority of your critical applications cannot be overstated. In a disaster situation, restoring contact information may be more important than restoring documents. � Stress with principals the importance of using firm-standard repositories. If documents are in three or four different places, restoring access becomes many times more difficult. � Web access to your systems is not a luxury; it is a necessity. � Smart, dedicated people ultimately make it happen. And the most important lesson of all: All but one of our most important assets — our smart and dedicated people — were not lost. It is important to remember that the loss of people is the only disaster truly to fear — if you are prepared, everything else can be recovered or replaced. Joy Heath-Porter is director of applications of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, based in Chicago. E-mail: [email protected]. Web: www.sidley.com.

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