New ABA book addresses how to respond to crisis situations

In an Internet and social media-dominated era, a fumbled, ineffective public response can mean the difference between a crisis that is effectively managed and one that manages you.

A new book from the American Bar Association, “Chief Crisis Officer: Structure and Leadership for Effective Communications Response,” can help those in business and nonprofits minimize the possibility that a public-facing crisis can have devastating and long-lasting consequences for an organization’s goals, success and even its very existence. “Chief Crisis Officer” explains how both lawyers and non-lawyers need the structure, skills and leadership to respond to unexpected events at the speed of modern communication.

With corporate crises making news nearly every day, this timely new book highlights why every company and organization must identify a leader and a structure for effective and efficient crisis communications management and response. Using real-life examples, analysis and tactical guidance, “Chief Crisis Officer” breaks down crisis events into their component parts and provides both a strategic approach and proper tools to enable a chief crisis officer to assemble his or her team and respond when an inevitable crisis occurs.

The book is written in a lively, personal style by James F. Haggerty, a New York City attorney, writer, software entrepreneur and communications consultant with more than 25 years of experience in marketing, public relations and public affairs. With a broad background counseling corporate, nonprofit and individual clients, Haggerty is frequently called upon as a trusted advisor in all manner of sensitive reputation management issues. He has worked, for instance, on the Jonathan Pollard spy case, the historic Screen Actors Guild labor dispute against the commercial advertising industry and successfully advised Consumers Union (nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine) on two high-profile defamation cases.

Haggerty’s previous book, “In the Court of Public Opinion: Winning Strategies for Litigation Communications,” published in its second edition by the ABA in 2009, was called “the perfect handbook for this age” by the Financial Times. He has also written for Corporate Counsel, USA Today, The New York Times, Forbes, National Law Journal, New York Law Journal, Law Practice Management, PR Week and Inc. magazine.