Arif H. Ali
Washington, D.C. +1 202 261 3307
London +44 20 7184 7557
A corporate crisis may be difficult to prevent, but the response to the events and strategic advice will mitigate the short- and long-term consequences to the organization. Companies require proper planning and the trusted advice of experienced professionals to navigate a crisis.
Dechert serves as a trusted business adviser to clients facing complex, high-profile crises. We have advised on some of the largest and most complicated events in the last three decades. Our deep bench of experienced lawyers guides our clients through adversity, handling crises such as cybersecurity attacks, ransom negotiations, government raids and investigations, company threatening product recalls, employee theft and malfeasance, senior management scandals, workplace harassment allegations, shareholder activism and hostile takeovers, geopolitical crises, natural disasters, OFAC sanctions, terrorist attacks, and more.
Our global crisis team provides the leadership and steady oversight not only to proactively navigate the criminal, civil, and regulatory issues that may result, but on all aspects of the crisis – from communicating with stakeholders and the media to advising on steps to avoid future liability. From the boardroom to the courtroom to the court of public opinion, Dechert’s team will be with you from the very start, helping to devise and implement crisis and communications plans to mitigate short-term and long-term risks.
Our crisis management team also counsels clients on crisis prevention. We are focused on the design, implementation, and enforcement of sound risk management measures, including drafting emergency response plans, policies, and procedures. We conduct in-house training sessions, including mock regulatory inspections and interactive exercises. Our advice is centered around minimizing risk, encouraging the early detection of potential problems, and identifying subtle issues. We also work with clients to ensure they have adequate insurance coverage in the event of a crisis.
Our international team includes former U.S. Attorneys and numerous Assistant U.S. Attorneys, a former Chief Privacy Officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Associate Counsel and Special Assistant to the President in the White House Counsel's Office, former senior lawyers from government agencies such as the SEC, DOJ, FTC, and OCC, and former prosecutors from the SFO, FCA, and CPS in the UK, as well as top-ranked, seasoned litigators, cybersecurity experts, and corporate strategists. Drawing on this experience, we guide major corporations, their boards and audit committees, and senior leaders through their most sensitive, potentially explosive matters to avoid adverse business and reputational impact.
Our Crisis Management practice is led by a diverse group of partners at Dechert who bring unique, top-of-the-market experience across varied disciplines and regions. In recent years, we have led clients such as Apollo Global Management, Airbus SE, Flo Health, Fox News, Johnson & Johnson, Purdue, Takata, HSBC, State Farm, Apple, Carnival Cruise Line, and the audit committees of Wal-Mart, Diageo, Pride International, and Qualcomm through high-profile events that threatened to irrevocably damage their brands.
Crisis management is embedded in our approach to client service across a range of practice areas, including:
Dechert’s deep bench of lawyers guides our clients through extremely sensitive and volatile matters. We are trusted by companies and government agencies alike to assess risk and coordinate strategic, multifaceted responses to crises in real-time. We are also adept at integrating compliance efforts as part of any ongoing remedial steps following a crisis.
The Dechert team handles the most complex situations, influences the narrative, and charts the course over the ensuing weeks, months, and years. We do this not only with an eye towards the legal issues, but also with a focus on understanding the potential cascading ripple effects of the crisis and ensuring consistency with each client’s reputational, business, and long-term goals.
Apollo Global Management
Apollo Global Management publicly released a report prepared by Dechert that sets forth findings from an investigation that had been ongoing since October 2020 regarding the relationship between Jeffrey Epstein and Leon Black, Apollo’s now former CEO and Chairman of the Board. This investigation, which was virtually certain to attract public scrutiny regardless of the outcome, involved carefully reviewing more than 60,000 documents and interviewing more than 20 witnesses in a compressed time frame. The report has garnered significant media attention. Apollo’s Conflicts Committee, which commissioned the report, complimented its thoroughness and quality.
Dechert advised Airbus on its coordinated settlement agreement with the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the French Parquet National Financier (PNF), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the U.S. Department of State (DOS). This landmark case is believed to be the world’s first coordinated settlement agreement involving the UK, French, and U.S. authorities.
Dechert played a leading role in the global strategy and four-year investigation involving reporting to multiple enforcement agencies in collaboration with the other law firms. Dechert assisted Airbus with its report to the SFO from April 2016, investigating conduct across multiple jurisdictions and in achieving the resulting DPA.
Dechert also designed and led the implementation of Airbus’ global disclosure strategy, which significantly included use of a unified review model and technology assisted review to accelerate the identification, review, and production of documents to the authorities as efficiently as possible while navigating national security laws, multiple languages, differing data protection regimes, and national blocking statutes.
The resulting convention judiciaire d'intérêt public (CJIP), deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs), and Consent Order concluded the investigations into alleged bribery and corruption, and non-compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Airbus’ reporting and cooperation during the investigation was recognized as “exemplary.” The final settlements reached under the DPAs and CJIPs were: SFO €984 million; PNF €2,083 million; DOJ €526 million and DOS €9 million, of which €4.50 million may be used for approved remediation and compliance measures.
In July 2016, Roger Ailes, the former President of Fox News Network, resigned in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment brought by prominent Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson. In April 2016, Bill O’Reilly, then the network’s biggest star, was fired after sexual harassment claims were filed against him. As a result of these events, Fox News was besieged by complaints of sexual harassment and gender discrimination and turned to Dechert to defend it in these suits. These cases have been brought principally by on-air personalities, such as Andrea Tantaros, Scottie Nell Hughes, Lidia Curanaj, Julie Roginsky, Diana Falzone, and radio correspondent Jessica Golloher, and attracted considerable press attention.
Global, Multi-billion dollar, Public Transportation Company
A Dechert team led the company response to a sophisticated ransomware attack on behalf of a global, multi-billion dollar, public transportation company, which resulted in the exfiltration of data from its systems.
Dechert led the company’s response and successfully resolved and advised on the ransom negotiation with the threat actor, a well-known notorious ransomware group that was demanding millions of dollars in cryptocurrency. Dechert drew out negotiations with the threat actor, giving the forensics team additional time to contain the company’s systems and assess the sensitivities of the taken data. Dechert also aggressively negotiated with the threat actor to effectively cut the initial ransomware demand in half and obtained written assurances from the threat actor that the stolen data would be deleted and not used or shared publicly.
Dechert quarterbacked all aspects of the incident investigation, including reporting to law enforcement, managing the third-party forensic firm review, as well as board communications, advice on the company’s global notification obligations, and liaising with the cyber insurance carrier to ensure coverage for the company. We also worked with law enforcement, as this was a highly sophisticated threat actor—a nation state attack.
Dechert represented Purdue Pharma as national trial and settlement counsel in its high-profile legal fight over the sales and marketing of its prescription opioid pain medications, including OxyContin.
This unprecedented litigation played out in dozens of state and federal courtrooms across the country. In addition to the 2,500-plus cases consolidated in the federal multi-district litigation (MDL), nearly every state attorney general sued the company in their respective state courts, seeking billions of dollars in damages and restitution.
The Dechert team defended the company in federal and state courts and worked to craft a multi-party agreement in principle between Purdue, state attorneys general, and private claimants to resolve all claims against the company, under which it will be restructured and emerge as a public benefit company dedicated to ameliorating the opioid abuse crises. Collectively, the settlement will deliver billions of dollars in value to abate the opioid abuse crises. Dechert’s team worked with court-appointed mediators to help deliver a complex creative solution to these litigations.
Dechert represented Japanese auto-parts manufacturer Takata Corporation and affiliates in connection with regulatory, state, federal, congressional, and international challenges related to the largest automotive recall in history.
This was a “bet-the-company” representation with huge consequences for Takata, its OEM customers, and the public. Takata’s potential liability was in the billions of dollars and had the potential to force it out of business. Takata’s failure would have been detrimental not only to the company, but also to the entire automotive industry, which relies on Takata as a major supplier. Dechert was able to navigate Takata through myriad investigations/litigations, resulting in favorable settlements with, among others, the Department of Justice (DOJ); National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); and civil plaintiffs.