Planning for the unexpected

August 30, 2010
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We make plans to get to a safe place when there’s bad weather. We know where the emergency exits are in case of a fire. We (hopefully) have backed up our important files in case there’s damage to our office. But do we have a plan for a random act of violence?

I’ve written about disaster plans for firms a few times in this blog after firms experienced fires. Some firms aren’t prepared in case a fire happens, but some are. I wonder if firms (and businesses in general) have a plan in place in case someone decides to start shooting at the law firm’s building.

This happened last week at Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis, when the husband of a former partner sat atop a parking garage next to the firm, randomly shooting a gun before taking his own life. Two of those bullets struck the firm’s outside walls.

The firm alerted employees by e-mail of the situation and advised everyone to move to the interior of the building.

Companies post signs where the exits are and tell employees where to go in case of a tornado, but how often are we told what to do in case a situation like the one that happened last week occurs? Unfortunately, we live in a world where you can’t predict human behavior and don’t know when someone might decide to come into your office with a weapon or be sitting just a few feet away taking shots at your building.

Has your firm addressed a plan for these types of emergency situations?

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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