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Is Your Company Ready for a Government Raid?

August 23, 2015

Respected corporations often see a government search warrant as a disaster that happens to hardened wrongdoers, but the circumstances leading to a search warrant may be beyond the control of well-intentioned corporations. Because the possibility is real and mistakes have a lasting impact, more corporations are planning for the possibility of a search warrant, beyond just having a telephone list of outside counsel qualified to take the first call or a general check list in a file.

The plan can include immediate actions to take upon the arrival of agents, how to properly interact with agents during the search, how to address efforts to conduct interviews of employees, and other actions to take or not during the search and immediately after the agents depart.

The plan should designate a Responsible Employee whose task is to interface with agents and coordinate internal communications. Effective planning also should include educating employees about their rights and obligations during a search. Employees can be taught how to protect basic rights without crossing the line to obstruction. They can choose whether or not to be interviewed, but if they agree to it they must tell the truth. Plans designate officers and counsel who will decide on a press strategy and messaging to interested parties, such as employees, shareholders and lenders.

Advance planning can avoid the damaging mistakes made during the stress of a raid, and it can mitigate the disruption and collateral harm that result from it.

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