Risk and Crisis Management

  • When a disaster strikes and an organization’s future is in jeopardy, Holland & Knight's Risk and Crisis Management Team implements forceful and smart strategies to respond to the ensuing legal, policy and media challenges.
  • Clients rely on Holland & Knight to advise them in high-risk and sensitive situations based on our extensive experience in enforcement actions, civil and criminal litigation, government affairs, and necessary communications about difficult topics.
  • For assistance from our Risk and Crisis Management Team, please call 877.569.7757.

When your organization faces a high-stakes, high-profile crisis – an event that poses significant risks to your business and reputation – retaining counsel and strategists who can craft a swift, thorough and extremely well-coordinated response is essential.

Whatever the cause of the crisis in question – a high-profile lawsuit, serious accident, government investigation, product recall, data breach, transportation crash, insider criminal conduct or another type of serious challenge – call on Holland & Knight's Risk and Crisis Management Team to help you take steps to prepare for, respond to and emerge from the situation in the strongest possible position.

A Trusted Advisor

Holland & Knight has decades of experience in guiding U.S. and multinational companies in nearly every industry during some of their toughest challenges, especially when they were in the crosshairs of civil and criminal liability, public criticism, government scrutiny, and potential debarment or exclusion from government programs.

We have assisted scores of leading transportation companies with risk management and liability mitigation following accidents as well as during government investigations; helped healthcare and life sciences companies protect their brands when handling labeling controversies, HIPAA violations, investigations and regulatory issues; counseled companies in numerous industry sectors to respond to data breaches, cybersecurity attacks and the resulting scrutiny; steered consumer companies, retailers and manufacturers through all aspects of product recalls from initial reports through final disposition; guided energy producers and insurers in the wake of natural disasters; and advised financial institutions during regulatory crises and investigations.

The team also has a lengthy track record in representing high-profile individuals who face government and regulatory investigations and inquiries, as well as white collar defense and high-stakes litigation.

Our Comprehensive Approach

Holland & Knight's Risk and Crisis Management Team provides the three essential components for effective crisis management:

  1. We quickly assess the parameters of the challenge you face.
  2. Our team then develops and implements integrated legal and communication strategies designed to mitigate liability; avoid adverse government action; protect your organization's brand and reputation; and preserve employee, investor and customer confidence.
  3. In the process, we give your organization's leadership the breathing room it needs to stay focused on managing all business operations.

Our Extensive Capabilities

Clients rely on our team in a wide range of circumstances, many of which are actively playing out in high-impact media coverage. Our comprehensive crisis and risk management guidance includes:
  • counseling companies, organizations and individuals in responding to, preparing for, participating in and emerging from all kinds of congressional or executive investigations and inquiries, including those involving the Department of Justice, the Federal Election Commission and the Federal Agency Offices of Inspector General (OIG)
  • negotiating on behalf of our clients with all federal law enforcement and investigative agencies; litigating countless white collar criminal and civil cases; defending companies in SEC enforcement and anti-money laundering matters; and representing clients in investigations of corporate misconduct
  • representing government contractors and grant recipients in government audits and investigations, including by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), agency OIGs, and other oversight bodies, including the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) investigative agencies (i.e., Army CID, Navy CIS and Air Force OSI) and the Department of Justice; we also represent clients in bid protests, claims by and against the government, suspension and debarment matters, FCPA matters and other litigation
  • handling the sensitive investigative, response, insurance, crisis communications, regulator inquiry and litigation challenges that arise during and following a data breach or cybersecurity attack; assisting clients through the initial hours of a breach through response to consumers and dealing with the aftermath; developing plans to help protect our clients' reputations for the long term, including dealing with corporate, insurance, investigative, crisis management and investor relations issues
  • representing financial institutions as well as their directors and officers in financial investigations brought by regulatory, investigative and prosecutorial agencies
  • defending clients against regulatory and statutory civil enforcement actions and litigation – including in matters brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other government agencies, and under the False Claims Act
  • advising clients on enhancing compliance programs to avoid future incidents and to demonstrate their institutional commitment to ethical behavior and sound practices

Holland & Knight has a highly sophisticated in-house Data Privacy Testing Lab that can analyze your company's systems for weaknesses in data security and recommend steps to help prevent cyberattacks. Our Data Privacy Testing Lab can perform technical analyses of our clients' websites, mobile apps and other technologies. This is immensely advantageous during a crisis response and is a critical tool when crafting cyberattack prevention and follow-up strategies.

Astute Crisis Communication

Not having to vet crisis and litigation communications teams when you are dealing with the onset of a dire situation can be critical. Holland & Knight's High-Stakes Communications Team works to meet legal and reputation protection objectives and mitigate additional liability for our clients on day one around the globe. Our seasoned communication and media strategists can either lead or assist you in tailoring effective messaging, identifying and preparing experts for testimony, handling interaction with high-profile media, and determining how to best manage social and other media.

Dispute Resolution

We work vigorously to resolve crisis-related disputes without protracted litigation, but mount an aggressive and strategic domestic or international courtroom defense when it cannot be avoided. Our experience in handling complex litigation – including class actions, mass torts, and white collar and enforcement cases – is extensive.

Crisis Prevention

Holland & Knight places a premium on crisis prevention and we wrote the book on Corporate Compliance – literally. Our attorneys developed, edit and update annually the Practising Law Institute's Corporate Compliance Answer Book, a two-volume work that is a fixture in the offices of many general counsel and risk management executives. We can assist you in adopting risk management measures, from drafting corporate emergency response programs and initiating preemptive compliance audits to ensuring that insurance policies provide adequate coverage. In addition, we can provide detailed risk-avoidance advice to government contractors and high-profile individuals seeking to steer clear of legal pitfalls.

Experience That Counts

Members of our team have decades of government and private sector experience that has given them real-world insight into the vast range of challenges encountered by our clients. Whether handling the concerns of an individual facing a congressional investigation or a shipping company dealing with a major accident, we know how to effectively apply our knowledge to provide immediate assistance with your crisis. Our team includes former members of Congress, a former chief of staff to the U.S. attorney general, a former U.S. attorney, a former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chief trial counsel, a former acting general counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) general counsel, former in-house chief privacy and compliance officers, and former military officers, as well as seasoned practitioners and experienced professionals in litigation, crisis management, government relations and transportation.

Representative Matters

Advocacy

  • Represented the leadership of a U.S. chemistry organization in working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obtain DHS SAFETY Act approval of the client's security program – a comprehensive security risk management tool used by the organization's members and their 1,550 nationwide chemical facilities. In order to encourage the development and implementation of anti-terrorism technologies, the SAFETY Act provides immunization from or limited liability should a terrorist attack result in harm despite the use of a DHS-approved technology.
  • Selected by an Asian Ministry of Commerce to support their reputation protection, lobbying and advocacy efforts relating to the U.S. State Department's placement of the client's country in the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report. Holland & Knight's High-Stakes Communications and Government Relations Teams are helping to redefine the narrative about the importance of commercial trade between the U.S. and our client country, demonstrate improvement in the client country's labor regulation and enforcement, educate U.S. State Department policy-makers and key commerce and labor stakeholders about recent labor reforms and efforts to combat human trafficking in the client's country, and mobilize allies and stakeholders to help improve the client country's reputation as a top-tier trading partner with the U.S.
  • In 2010, the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations were examining the use of flame retardant chemicals in various consumer products. In connection with this, in April 2010, they sent letters to select chemical companies who manufactured polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and other flame retardant chemicals. We represented a client in navigating the oversight process and in preparing their response to the Committee's request for information which comprised over 100,000 pages of documents and data. In 2012 the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (the "Committee"), following up on a Chicago Tribune series on flame retardants, initiated an adversarial investigation of and hearing on the latest flame retardants. The Committee's letter requested detailed information related to the use of flame retardant materials. Working with the client, we were able to produce the necessary information in a timely and professional fashion. Holland & Knight attorneys also worked closely with the Democratic and Republican oversight staff of the Committee to provide guidance in determining which documents were of interest to the Committee, to produce the documents within a negotiated timeline agreed to by the Committee, to gain protected and confidential treatment for proprietary and other sensitive company documents, and to stay abreast of developments related to the scheduled public hearing. The newspaper and television stories fanned the flames of controversy surrounding fire protection, precipitating a frontal attack on the industry and best practices, requiring a rapid and coordinated response on the legal, policy, regulatory, technical, legislative and public relations fronts – all under time and other significant constraints.
  • Represented several corporations in investigations initiated by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
  • Defended publishers in Florida attorney general investigations into alleged deceptive marketing and billing practices
  • Assisted Florida businesses with passage of legislation to improve the standard for expert witness testimony in Florida civil and criminal courts
  • Implemented a strategic plan to assist a client at risk of losing their entire annual Head Start grant when a new federal law required the client to re-compete for its $200 million annual Head Start grant. Our team engaged with the client's congressional delegation, local elected officials and federal agency staff to ensure the competition process was fair and transparent. We also obtained strong political support for the client's application by highlighting the client's successes with the Head Start program through the years. As a result, after an intense 18-month competition process, the client maintained 65 percent of their original grant – an unprecedented amount among all the applicants.

Financial Services

  • Represented global bank executives involving fraud-based claims against large mortgage lenders; we participated in the first lawsuit to be tried to verdict by the U.S. Department of Justice that brought fraud-based claims against major mortgage lenders

Government Contractor

  • Successfully represented a government contractor in a precedent-setting case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit involving a nationwide contracting program worth $250 million per year; this was an extremely high-stakes matter for our client since the contracts involved constitute almost all of their revenue and the Department of Justice (DOJ) took this case to the U.S. Supreme Court

Healthcare

  • Represented a generic pharmaceutical company in an investigation involving drug pricing and government price-reporting violations
  • When one of the world’s largest information technology companies came in for extensive attention and criticism over its role in a large and highly prominent federal health information technology contract, Holland & Knight provided comprehensive government affairs support through a team of professionals who helped develop a strategic response; formulated responsive communications to congressional offices and committees; prepared testimony; prepared a witness for testimony; and undertook a series of informational meetings to clarify misunderstandings

Transportation

  • Represented clients in crash litigation and the investigations by the NTSB and the FAA; in addition to smaller crash cases, we have been lead U.S. counsel for the defendant operator or manufacturer in investigations and/or litigation arising out of the following representative matters:
    • SpaceshipTwo crash in the Mojave Desert, Calif.
    • UPS Flight 1354 A300 crash at Birmingham, Ala.
    • Air Methods Eurocopter AS350 B2 crash near Mosby, Mo.
    • Gulfstream G650 crash at Roswell, N.M.
    • AIRES Flight 8250 B737 accident on San Andres Island, Colombia
    • UPS Flight 006 B747 crash in Dubai
    • Navy E-2C Hawkeye crash in the North Arabian Sea
    • Air France Flight 447 A330 crash in the mid-Atlantic Ocean

Litigation

  • Represented several developers and operators of multifamily communities in matters involving allegations of pattern and a practice of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act regarding design and construction of apartment complexes throughout the U.S.
  • Represented a former governor in a matter involving corruption charges