Prepare. Respond. Recover.
Disasters come in many forms. But stories of recovery are countless — and Jones Walker is here to help at every step. Whether a widespread, once-in-a-thousand-year event such as the 2016 flooding in Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes, or a highly focused catastrophe such as a site-specific fire or industrial accident, businesses can rely on Jones Walker for effective guidance.
Our cross-disciplinary Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Client Team advises companies, not-for-profit organizations, and individuals as they prepare for, respond to, and recover from unforeseen crises. We understand the myriad legal issues that arise when drafting, communicating, and implementing disaster-preparedness plans, and have extensive experience representing clients as they work with government agencies in the aftermath of a major event. We provide counsel in the following areas, among others:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance programs
- Insurance coverage and dispute resolution
- Real estate, including negotiating and re-negotiating leases for temporary or permanent facilities
- Construction, including working with cleanup companies, contractors and subcontractors
- Labor and employment, including disaster unemployment programs
- Tax and economic recovery incentives
Over the past several decades, our firm has helped hundreds of clients plan for potential emergencies and rebuild their businesses in the wake of disasters, both large and small. We are perhaps best known for our work following the series of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, which swept across the Gulf Coast in 2005 as part of that year’s record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina passed, we began helping businesses and individuals in Louisiana, Alabama, and elsewhere, despite the fact that the firm’s largest office, in New Orleans, was still inaccessible. Firm lawyers from across the United States created a legal think tank to anticipate and identify issues clients would face during that time of unprecedented loss and challenge. Since then, we have followed a similar model to assist clients immediately following the widespread flooding in the Midwest, after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, and in the wake of other major disasters.
During a crisis, information is a businesses’ most important tool and clear, timely client communications are our top priority. We regularly distribute recovery-related information using the firm’s E*Communications center, through ongoing seminars, and via one-on-one meetings that, in most instances, are held on a pro bono basis. In recognition of our service following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans CityBusiness named our Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Client Team one of the 2006 Innovators of the Year — the first law firm to receive this honor.
At all times, our goal is to get clients back in business. We help clients address their immediate needs following a disaster and provide counsel on the short- and long-term opportunities available to disaster victims. Many government programs last for years after the triggering event, and we continue to advise clients on available incentives, including the Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone) Act of 2005 and related legislation.
By their very nature, disasters are unpredictable. But it is possible to prepare for and recover from such unforeseen events. Our Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Client Team remains poised to assist clients when and where such challenges arise.