April 2011 | Special Edition: Dealing with Disasters - Emergency Preparedness
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Special Edition: Dealing with Disasters - Emergency Preparedness

A Joint Effort of the Law Practice Management Section and the ABA's Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness

By Micah U. Buchdahl

On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake occurred near the northeastern coast of Japan, causing extensive and catastrophic damage and triggering massive tsunami waves minutes after the quake. Thousands of people perished. Millions more were injured and affected by a lack of shelter, food, electricity and water. The threat of radiation exposure from the impacted nuclear reactors has even hit the United States.

Television and Internet reports brought many of us back to images from Hurricane Katrina. And, once again, provided a stark reminder that natural disasters (along with "man-made" terroristic threats) are a reality—regardless of where you work or reside—and must be appropriately planned for.

As the Immediate Past Chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Section, I witnessed first-hand the donation of time and money that our members have contributed in times of need and despair, from 9/11 to Katrina, and now in Japan. Another responsibility of our section is to provide important information and advice on topics that can adversely affect business management. It is with these thoughts in mind that LPT steps away from our "regularly scheduled programming" to address the extremely important area of emergency preparedness.

A special thanks to George B. Huff, Jr., Special Advisor, Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness, for providing the nationally-known experts who have served as special contributors to LPT. The ABA's Business Continuity Management System will be completed, externally audited and certified to international standards. We look forward to completion of this initiative by the late summer/early fall of this year.

I have the privilege of serving as this issue's editor as a member of the Law Practice Today editorial board. In reading the emergency preparedness articles, I was fascinated by the legal issues that often accompanied efforts to plan for and protect us from disasters. I'd much rather read and write about marketing, management, finance and technology. But this is an unavoidable reality in our world, and you need to plan accordingly.

About the Author

Micah U. Buchdahl is an attorney focused on assisting law firms with business development initiatives. He is immediate past chair of the ABA's Law Practice Management Section. Micah can be reached at www.HTMLawyers.com.


Protecting Civil Liberties During Quarantine and Isolation in Public Health Emergencies

By Sarah Pope, JD, MA; Nisha Sherry, CPH; and Elizabeth Webster, JD

If you were diagnosed with a communicable disease tomorrow, would you know your rights in regard to government-forced quarantine and isolation? There is a delicate balance between public health and our individual rights.

Fight or Flight: On Enforcing Mandatory Evacuations

By David Bohannon

When a disaster strikes, sometimes the best response is to get away. But many hesitate to heed mandatory evacuation orders.

The Mandatory Vaccination of Health Care Workers

By Daniel Goodman and Christopher Webster

Many of us have spent time during the last few winters in search of flu vaccines, as outbreaks of H1N1 and other strains have focused global attention on pandemic prevention.

The Value of the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act Model Bill: Encouraging Volunteer Response

By Markus Rauschecker

You would think that health care professionals volunteering in emergencies would be welcome. In the case of Dr. Anna Maria Pou, her dedication to helping others during Hurricane Katrina led to charges of second-degree murder.

Metro Bag Searches: Inconvenient or Unconstitutional?

By R. Sabra Jafarzadeh and Megan Timmins

Bombings on commuter trains in Madrid, London and Mumbai killed hundreds and injured thousands. Extra security measures in New York, Boston and Washington subway stations have given rise to debates over the constitutionality of random bag searches.

Aftermath Recovery: Beyond an Afterthought

By Guy Sapirstein, PhD

In the field of contingency planning, there are often phases for continuity of operations, IT disaster recovery and sometimes mitigation plans, but what about planning for the aftermath?

Consequence-based Analysis: An Emerging Risk Assessment Paradigm

By Donald Byrne

Media coverage of recent catastrophes has heightened the legal community's awareness of these events' potential to disrupt business. In some cases entire communities have been shattered for prolonged periods while others have disappeared forever.


The ABA's Law Practice Management Section and Law Practice Today welcome many first-time recipients of this special edition of our online publication. To receive a complimentary subscription and to learn more about what LPM provides to the legal profession, simply click here to subscribe at no cost.

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John D. Bowers, Fox Rothschild LLP


Micah U. Buchdahl, HTMLawyers


Elise Martin, Grant & Eisenhofer


Micah U. Buchdahl, HTMLawyers

Margaret M. DiBianca, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP

Nicholas Gaffney, Infinite Public Relations

George E. Leloudis, McGuire, Woods & Bissett P.A.

Pamela Annette Palmer, Morris Polich & Purdy

Allison C. Shields, LegalEase Consulting, Inc.

J. Benjamin Stevens, The Stevens Firm, P.A. - Family Law Center

Misasha Suzuki, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

Qadir Wahid, Ropes & Gray LLP

Wendy L. Werner, Werner Associates, LLC

Send us your feedback here.

Donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief

The ABA Law Practice Management Section encourages our members and Law Practice Today readers to help victims of the recent Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.

Many companies are supporting those affected by the recent earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. Their support along with the support of their customers and community will enable the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of these disasters.

To donate directly to the Red Cross and to see a list of Official Red Cross Donation Sites supporting the relief efforts, go to: www.redcross.org/en/otherdonationsites.