Risk Update

PR & Reputation Risk Managed — One Firm Faces Up to Tough Times

Longtime readers likely observe that I’m intrigued by the issue of reputation risk and how firms navigate those waters. The recent economic turn has surfaced many stories of firms cutting back — including salaries cut and staff furloughed. Some of the examples I’ve noted present optics that certainly raise eyebrows, particularly low level staff let go and losing benefits.

Beyond reputation questions (including curiosity of the extent to which clients are watching), there are real HR risks to consider as well when lives are potentially disrupted during these uniquely challenging times.

Acknowledging of course that the world is complicated and these situations are difficult for all, I was pleased to come across a different type of story to share:

Paul Hastings Launches Fund to Support Staff and Lawyers Hit by Coronavirus” —

  • “While a growing number of a law firms eye furloughs and layoffs in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Paul Hastings is fundraising to respond to the emergency needs of staff who’ve been harmed by directly by the virus or have suffered from its consequences.”
  • “The firm, which generated almost $1.27 billion in revenue last year, has announced that it will directly match all contributions made by partners, lawyers and any other staff. Money from the resulting fund will be available to any employees who are eligible for benefits: staff and associates, along with other non-partner lawyers.”
  • “Employees will be eligible to apply for funds for themselves or on behalf of dependents or immediate family members. The firm’s leadership worked with the partners who lead PH Balanced, the firm’s initiative focused on work-life balance.”
  • “While the firm is still finalizing the criteria for eligibility, the list of needs covered will include medical expenses that go beyond what is included in regular benefits, as well as mental health care, including apps for remote consultations and co-pays. Also on the list are increased child care expenses, household utility costs, and added commuting expenses for those who need to work out of the house and are avoiding transportation. Funeral costs also qualify, although Ilaria hopes that won’t be necessary.”
  • “‘The firm’s match is unlimited,’ said Paul Hastings chairman Seth Zachary. ‘We wanted that feeling of participation across our firm.'”