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. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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