Lawyering and Representing Organizational Clients in a Public Health Crisis
20 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2020 Last revised: 27 Jan 2021
Date Written: 2021
The unprecedented public health and financial crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic calls upon the legal profession to go beyond traditional, adversarial, “rights”-based representation and disputing force majeure liability, towards working with clients and collaborating with counterparts as partners in joint problem-solving, innovative thinking, and developing viable options to help meet the parties’ mutual interests in safety, surviving, and perhaps even thriving, during and after, the pandemic. A lawyer’s professional conduct duties extend to ensure fairness to others and to find ways to preserve and nourish the relationships, partnerships, goals, and enterprise that brought the parties together. A crisis requires immediate attention, careful management, and methodical strategic planning. Yet, as it has also been said, “crisis” can mean both danger and opportunity. The danger of the COVID-19 pandemic is tangible and certain; the opportunity to adapt, learn, create, plan and nourish partnerships, in light and despite thereof, is likewise possible. This essay explores those responsibilities and opportunities.
Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, ethics, force majuere, organizations, professional conduct, sports
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