In 1657, mathematician Blaise Pascal commented in a letter to his church leaders “I have made this longer than usual because I did not have time to make it shorter.” More than 100 years later, another Frenchman, Napoleon Bonaparte, offered a similar remark to his valet as he prepared to head out for battle. “Dress me slowly,” he said, “I’m in a hurry.” The irony of the quotations makes people smile, but few quibble with their underlying truthfulness. Often, the more in a hurry you are, the more you need to slow down.

Over the past six weeks, businesses across the country have been in a hurry. Sales leaders are rushing to find innovative ways to preserve revenue in the face of a shuttered economy courtesy of COVID-19. Contracts Managers are dusting off terms and conditions they had all but forgotten about prior to the pandemic. HR teams are figuring out how to deal with unplanned furloughs and/or layoffs. And in-house counsel are working nonstop to make sense of an endless stream of new statutes, executive orders, regulations, directives, and guidelines from federal, state, and local officials.

With all that going on, who can afford to slow down? I submit the better question, however, is “who can afford not to slow down?”

If there is one thing businesses have learned from past crises and emergencies it is that, without fail, they leave a trail of audits, investigations, and lawsuits in their wake. The Persian Gulf War of the 1990s, the Afghan and Iraqi wars of the early 2000s, the Wall Street Bailout of 2008, and the H1N1 public health emergency of 2009 all presaged such a trail. And we already can see the enforcement authorities readying themselves for the end of the current emergency.

Read the full article here: Using “Prospective Hindsight” To Identify And Mitigate Risks During A Crisis

***

Check out Sheppard Mullin’s Coronavirus Insights Portal which now aggregates the firm’s various COVID-19 blog posts on a broad range of topics. Click here to view and subscribe.

**This alert is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Please contact your Sheppard Mullin attorney contact for additional information.**

Print:
EmailTweetLikeLinkedIn
Photo of Jonathan Aronie Jonathan Aronie

Jonathan Aronie is a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office and leader of the firm’s Government Contracts, Investigations and International Trade Practice Group and Organizational Integrity Group.