As firms expand globally, they increasingly find themselves conducting extended and/or short-term business projects in volatile and dangerous locales. Safeguarding employees and valuable assets in high-risk situations requires rigorous advance planning.
A referral, this client faced a daunting proposition: Sending a large pre-trial research team of close to 100 lawyers and support staff into a high-risk Latin American city. Security concerns were twofold: Ensuring the safety of employees during weeks of intensive work in multiple settings and protecting large amounts of confidential information gathered in hotels and conference sites, and stored on laptops.
To manage the complex logistics of this one-time event -- from overseeing transportation and accommodations to off-hour excursions -- we used a phased approach: 1) intensive research via our government and intelligence contacts to create a threat profile and identify resources; 2) conducting pre-trip, in-person safety and advisory briefings for employees; 3) developing a medical contingency plan; and 4) mobilizing local security and our in-house experts on site for the project's duration. The trip, which involved tens of thousands of client man-hours, was completed safely and successfully.
Takeaways: Pre-travel research is critical in assessing risks and resources. Individual employee safety-and-security training is a powerful threat deterrent. On-the-ground intelligence and local staff vetting ensure efficiency and responsiveness.