Crisis Management and Strategic Response

When legal, public policy and media challenges converge and an institution's reputation and business are at stake, no firm rivals WilmerHale’s ability to navigate fast-moving events and craft lasting solutions.

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Meet Our Team



    Retained by BP in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling accident in the Gulf of Mexico, we led the company’s response to unprecedented congressional inquiries—including 15 hearings and investigative demands by more than 90 committees and members—and investigations by the DOJ, the SEC, the National Oil Spill Commission, the Chemical Safety Board and the National Academy of Engineers.

    When Target became the victim of one of the largest data breaches ever reported, we led the company’s governance and communications response, prepared a company officer for congressional testimony, and directed the focus of the public debate back to the critical objective of holding the perpetrators to account and preventing future intrusions.

    After the “London Whale” incident, in which a trader in JPMorgan Chase’s London-based Chief Investment Office acquired large positions in synthetic credit derivatives, leading to losses of approximately $6 billion, we mounted a multifaceted response that involved crafting a communications strategy, assisting the bank in its management task force review, and responding to inquiries from regulators and enforcement authorities from all over the world. We helped resolve investigations by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

    When Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian was arrested by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and imprisoned in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, we led a comprehensive outreach to private intermediaries and government officials from approximately 40 countries and international organizations, including the UN Secretary-General, to help secure Rezaian’s release. Our multifaceted response included obtaining an OFAC license for payments necessary to his legal defense, helping local counsel develop defenses under international law, filing a successful petition with the United Nations, developing and executing a Capitol Hill strategy and preparing Rezaian’s brother for congressional testimony, coordinating with a PR firm to maintain media and public pressure on Iran, and working with Islamic scholars to craft and deliver a letter directly to the Chief Justice of Iran. After 544 days in confinement, Rezaian was ultimately released by the Iranian government on January 16, 2016.

    Following the deaths of Freddie Gray and Laquan McDonald, the cities of Baltimore and Chicago asked our team to use its extensive Justice Department insight, civil rights experience and investigations capabilities to assist in responding to the DOJ’s investigations into police practices. The team is leading a multi-strand response that has included facilitating DOJ review, assisting police department reform through retraining and force mitigation strategies, and helping the cities bolster public safety by working with the community.

    In the aftermath of the improper indictment of members of the university’s lacrosse team, we helped Duke University address the civil litigation and governance issues related to the matter.

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