In 2013, there have been multiple instances of active shooters opening fire in law firms around the country. Most recently, a disgruntled client opened fire at Upton Law Firm in Covington, La., before taking his own life. Law360 dedicated an article on why law firms should be concerned of this growing risk, and among the key quotes was: “If I was an attorney, I would take it seriously, and I would increase my awareness for the potential for these types of events…If an individual feels that he or she has been misrepresented, or wronged in some way, they may develop feelings of resentment, hatred, and, ultimately, a strong desire for revenge.”
We completely agree with this insight. Here are a few things all law firms should know to prevent and respond to an active shooter:
1. Beef up your building security. Having guards stationed around the premises, security locks, and key cards will help deter a gunman from entering your workplace. However, as evidence in at the Upton shooting, the gunman shot open a locked glass door then proceeded to open fire.
2. If your firm is located in an commercial office building, collaborate with your property manager to develop a plan on what to do in the event of an active shooter. Building management should already have a plan in place, and have contacts from the local police or fire department who can help conduct training for your office. Also find out what type of emergency notification system they would use to alert tenants if a shooter had entered the building, so then you can develop your own communications plan.
3. Train your crisis team and employees on what to do in the event a gunman enters your workplace. Download Preparis’ Active Shooter Tabletop drill and schedule a session with your firm’s leaders to review these essential steps on prevention and response.
4. Create a core business continuity or crisis team which meets regularly. Encourage your employees to report warning signs — including emotional outbursts, moods, or irrational behavior from both clients and employees — as these could be indicators of an impending attack. These attacks are no longer random, but the assailant will most likely target someone in your office.
Preparis is here to help. Many of America’s Top 100 Law firms rely on our technology and services to ensure their crisis management and business continuity teams are equipped to handle unexpected threats and incidents. You can download our sample tabletop training content now to test your team’s preparedness, and request an demointroductory call with one of our staff to see how we can equip your firm with an all-hazards approach to risk mitigation. For more information, contact Preparis directly or give us a call at 404.662.2950. Also, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates on industry news and events.
Marlia Fontaine-Weisse is the Content Manager for Preparis.