Jenner & Block launch culture risk practice as corporate clients face new kinds of crisis
New group aimed at advising those accused of having a toxic work environment
Jenner & Block has launched a new practice focused on helping companies navigate cultural and compliance issues amid a rise in demand for advice related to unhealthy workplace cultures, particularly over matters concerning gender and race.
Founded and co-chaired by partners Christine Braamskamp and Anne Cortina Perry — based in London and New York respectively — the new Culture Risk and Sensitive Investigations Practice will conduct independent reviews to help clients mitigate reputational risk and avoid corporate crises.
In addition to Braamskamp and Perry, the new practice will be made up of an interdisciplinary team of lawyers including Jenner’s co-managing partner Katya Jestin, as well as fellow New York-based partners Anthony Barkow, Neil Barofsky, Lori Day and Dawn Smalls.
Also joining the practice are partners Thomas O’Neill, Erin Schrantz, Emma Sullivan and Joseph Torres in Chicago, as well as San Francisco-based partner Ann O’Leary and London-based special counsel Lucy Blake.
By establishing a dedicated culture risk and sensitive investigations team, the firm plans to build on its existing expertise in handling sensitive investigations regarding a number of issues, including workplace harassment, misconduct, workplace safety incidents, or general inquiries into compliance culture.
Braamskamp, who joined the firm in 2018 from K&L Gates, currently co-chairs its Investigations, Compliance and Defense Group in London. As co-chair of the new practice, she will tap into her experience guiding companies and their stewards through high-risk compliance matters related to a number of issues, including corruption, fraud and financial crimes, #MeToo, and human rights.
Braamskamp said: “These issues are front and centre not only in the US, but here in the UK and globally as well. From the Everyone is Invited movement and the challenging questions that are being asked of our educational establishments around sexual harassment, to issues relating to ‘superstar’ leaders that undermine the sustainability and productivity of an organisation, we are committed to helping our clients move forward in a way that allows them to address the real risks, rather than just a narrow legal issue.”
Perry, meanwhile, has been an investigations, compliance and defence partner at Jenner for just over a decade. Her work has included leading high-stakes investigations for government entities and organisations including the Department of Justice, Securities Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
She said: “Toxicity in a workplace culture breeds risk – not only to an organisation’s reputation among its employees, customers, and other stakeholders – but also that other concerns related to compliance, ethics and safety will not be timely or effectively addressed, thus setting the stage for significant additional, serious legal risk.”
Perry emphasised that the practice’s goal will be to help companies ensure their corporate cultures are “not only ‘compliant’ but healthy, inclusive and productive”.
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