Brief the Board series: Resources for General Counsel

Facing an increasingly litigious corporate landscape, general counsel are under greater pressure than ever to provide clear direction and concise guidance on a broad range of matters. This is especially true when crisis strikes and a business critical situation arises. In those circumstances, organizations often rely on general counsel as their first line of defence in assessing the situation and determining the most effective course of action.

In this climate of heightened expectations and higher business stakes, every decision is scrutinized, making it crucial for counsel not only to develop an appropriate response to a crisis situation but also to confidently communicate that strategy and the corresponding business implications in a timely, accurate manner. Successfully adopting such an approach is critical to the proactive management of the situation and effective risk mitigation.

Osler is committed to ensuring that general counsel are properly prepared to meet the demands of this evolving role. To that end, our Dispute Resolution and Risk Management experts have developed a collection of resources on a range of topics that general counsel are most likely to encounter.

Brief the Board is a five-part series that offers practical tips on how counsel should brief board members and senior management when an organization is faced with a business critical situation. Leveraging these tools, you will be equipped to meet these challenges head-on and respond appropriately.

Each section of Brief the Board focuses on a type of business critical litigation that could impact an organization – one in which board members and senior management will be looking to counsel as trusted advisors – and consists of three components: a slide deck, a webinar video and a PDF summarizing the high-level takeaways for each topic. Through these resources, you’ll gain insight into how to proactively combat the threat of litigation, including:

  • Steps to help you assess, scope and determine the immediate actions required
  • Strategies to effectively communicate critical information to your board and senior management
  • Suggestions for anticipating the important information that board members and senior management will want to know

Part 1: So, you’re faced with a class action. Now what?

Learn about the key facts you need to brief your board and senior management in the event of an impending class action. In particular, these resources will help you understand how to

  • Assess the scope and size of the action
  • Monitor the certification process and deal with common issues in a proceeding
  • Mitigate the impact, including crisis response (e.g. public relations and dealing with stakeholders such as customers and suppliers)

View the video and slide deckAccess the PDF of takeaways



Part 2: The procedural pre-nup: How to leverage arbitration effectively for your business

This section explores the mechanics of the arbitration process and focuses specifically on when leveraging arbitration as a strategy is appropriate as well as the unique benefits of doing so. Areas covered in this section’s resources include

  • The difference between arbitration and litigation (including the risks and benefits associated with each)
  • How to understand and evaluate arbitration clauses
  • How to brief the board on the most common arbitration scenarios

View the video and slide deckAccess the PDF of takeaways



Part 3: Avoiding Panama: Controlling your exposure to tax disputes

The tools in this section offer an overview of what is critical to know and do when facing tax litigation, including

  • Assessing what is at stake
  • Strategically managing an audit and the organization’s relationship with the CRA
  • Strategically managing the litigation, the organization’s shareholders and the company’s reputation

View the video and slide deckAccess the PDF of takeaways



Part 4: Proactive crisis management: Expecting the unexpected, Now What?

Neglected and mismanaged risk can have costly financial, operational and reputational repercussions. The resources in this section explore strategies to effectively manage a crisis situation, including

  • The key elements of a best-in-class crisis response plan
  • Counsel’s role and what the board needs when a crisis arises
  • Key challenges and lessons learned when dealing with a crisis

View the video and slide deckAccess the PDF of takeaways



Part 5: Key topics in employment law

At some point, every employer will be confronted with various employment and labour issues that could expose them to liabilities. That’s why it’s so important to gain insight into these potential issues and understand the most effective ways of addressing them. This section’s resources explore best practices when briefing a board about

  • Joint employer status as it applies to franchise law
  • How to avoid joint employer status
  • Unionization and franchise law
  • The implications of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017
  • Random drug and alcohol testing in the workplace

View the video and slide deckAccess the PDF of takeaways