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For lawyers who spend their waking hours advising clients on how to navigate litigation and other significant business and personal matters, having the time to plan for threats to their own firms may seem like a luxury. And in years past, most firms could get by without putting much thought into how they would face a crisis. The endless cycle of online news and social media had not yet upended the way crises unfolded and spread, and there was simply more time to react, making planning for crises exactly that, a luxury.

In the current climate, firms that don’t take seriously the very real reputational and business interruption threats that face them are taking on significant risks that could be mitigated—if not avoided altogether—by thoughtful preparation. Major crises such as data breaches and sexual misconduct investigations that have damaged the reputations of U.S. corporations over the past year are just as much of a threat for law firms.

The good news is that the analytic and communications skills that make lawyers successful can also be leveraged to help them and their firms anticipate and navigate a crisis. It’s just a matter of having the foresight to take these risks seriously and the discipline to sit down and plan for them.

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