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The Legal 500 Manila Crisis Management Roundtable 2019

On 8 October 2019 The Legal 500 and Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law) were delighted to host a rambunctious roundtable discussion on crisis management in Manila, attended by a plethora of thought-leaders in the in-house and private practice spaces. The aim of the day was to contextualise and better understand the machinations of crisis management in the Philippines and the wider region.

At a time where social and political turbulence around the world is pushing the topic to the top of the agenda for many in-house teams, a diverse selection of senior in-house legal and compliance professionals convened for The Legal 500 Manila Crisis Management Roundtable 2019, sponsored by V&A Law and held at the V&A Law Center.

The roundtable began with a short video presentation introduced by V&A Law’s co-managing partner Augusto San Pedro, Jr., which detailed many pertinent examples of crises experienced by organisations, after which debate and discussion began. The in-house counsel in the room, from a select group of companies including Unilever, Samsung, Siemens and Siemens Healthineers, then began to explain the notion of a crisis for them and their organisations, what risks to their business a crisis could pose, and the procedures could effectively help combat or mitigate them.

Helpfully complemented by insights from V&A Law partners around the table, varied and unique perspectives from in-house counsel in attendance were exchanged enthusiastically. The importance of the in-house counsel in a crisis management situation was acknowledged, and thanks to the range of sectors represented by participants, a wide variety of perspectives were voiced, allowing for a lively discussion and the sharing of experiences and best practices.

Perhaps emblematic of wider trends within the in-house legal industry, many attendees were in agreement that was during an organisational crisis it is the importance of the business’ message and the use of a lawyer in consultation on this – not necessarily as a black letter law consultant. It was acknowledged around the table that in-house counsel should be involved as early as possible in crisis response, involving dialogue with senior business stakeholders, and that while no hard and fast rules exist there is a clear benefit in having lawyers for both legal consultation ('can we do this?') as well as communication strategy.

The latter part of the discussion related to the rising prominence of data privacy, which is a testament to the increasing space that data privacy and protection matters occupy in the minds of businesses of all kinds. Attendees explained either direct experiences with either handling data privacy matters or putting together mitigation plans, when it seems not so long ago this type of planning was an afterthought if not ignored entirely. Now, not only were attendees able to hear from experts in the field, but offer their own experiences and strategies to their fellow in-house professionals in a closed-door, off-the-record environment.

Thank you to all attendees of The Legal 500 and V&A Law’s Manila Crisis Management Roundtable, and to V&A Law for their partnership and expertise in planning and hosting this event.

Please scroll down to see pictures of the event: