Crisis Management 101: Reputational Risk & How to Develop an Action Plan for Immediate Response

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 60 minutes
Recorded Date: May 21, 2019
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1:15 pm - 2:15 pm
  • Preparedness
  • First Response
  • Communications
  • Resolution Strategy
  • Where it all Goes Wrong
  • Legal Considerations for Crisis Management
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: May 21, 2019


Data breaches are becoming increasingly common, and because most corporations don’t know to expect an attack, they aren’t able to prepare how to handle these issues. This, combined with the age of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, has a huge impact on a company's reputation. So what are the steps that GCs can take to help mitigate these types of risks? In this session, we will explore how to build a comprehensive response plan to data breaches and cyber attacks, as well as what corporate executives should -- and shouldn’t -- do in the aftermath of an attack.

This program was recorded as part of ALM and Corporate Counsel's 19th Annual SuperConference held on May 21st, 2019.

Provided By



Melissa Ventrone

Clark Hill PLC

Melissa K. Ventrone is a Member in the firm’s Chicago office where she addresses her clients’ cybersecurity needs. She reacts swiftly and decisively when she is enlisted on a cybersecurity breach. As leader of the cybersecurity breach response team, she focuses her experienced group of first responders, including lawyers and forensic investigators, on around-the-clock management of the situation and minimizing damage by working to limit any public or regulatory fallout. When not managing her clients’ urgent breach concerns, Melissa is a proactive consultant in managing data privacy and security risks. She is also a zealous courtroom advocate in cybersecurity litigation.

Melissa is a Certified Informational Privacy Professional (CIPP/US).

Melissa’s experience extends from small breaches impacting a few hundred people to larger breaches impacting millions on behalf of merchants, financial institutions, medical providers and educational institutions. Melissa and her team work with clients to preserve evidence, determine a breach's scope, document the response and craft communications that both meet legal requirements and protect a company's brand. She also advises on establishing incident call centers and staff training, and formulates other methods to protect impacted individuals from potentially negative outcomes.

Melissa has a track record of success in defending companies facing data security and privacy litigation, including class actions. She has represented a variety of clients in multiple industries in disputes related to privacy, invasion of privacy, contracts, consumer fraud, statutory claims and other matters. She has litigated cases of first impression establishing favorable law, including obtaining summary judgment in a class action case alleging damages from the theft of a hard drive, and successfully defending a merchant against a class action arising out of a credit card breach.

Melissa advises clients on compliance with state, federal and international laws and regulations. She helps companies ensure that policies, procedures and cyber crisis response plans are sufficient. Melissa runs breach simulation exercises, which are very useful tools for training, testing and enhancing a company's response time in a breach situation. When vulnerabilities are found, Melissa works with management teams, boards of directors, vendors, outside consultants and other third parties to build and execute risk-reducing action plans.

In addition, Melissa drafts and negotiates contractual agreements concerning data use and retention and privacy and security, including cloud computing contracts. She also serves as a first responder for situations involving use or misuse of computers and other devices.

Melissa's leadership abilities extend beyond her legal practice. She recently completed a distinguished 21 years of service in the Marine Corps Reserve, holding several key positions, including Company Commander for a 200-person unit, Executive Officer for a 329-person company deployed to Afghanistan, Operations Officer for a 1,000-person motor transport battalion, and the Logistics Officer for Combat Logistics Regiment 4. She also volunteers as an ombudsman for the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve in which she serves as a mediator on employment-related disputes.

Kristopher Keys

VP, Deputy GC, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer

Kristopher Keys became Exelon’s Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Chief Compliance & Ethics Officer in October 2017. Keys and his team provide governance and oversight of the company’s enterprise-wide corporate compliance and ethics programs, and serve as lead counsel on cybersecurity and privacy matters.

Keys joined Exelon’s predecessor company as a litigator in February 1998. He worked for several years in the Exelon Nuclear subsidiary before returning to corporate functions. Keys has led Exelon’s enterprise-wide compliance and ethics programs since 2007, including the integration of both Constellation and Pepco Holdings, Inc. into company’s framework.

Keys remains actively involved in numerous industry and professional organizations. He serves as Chair of the Corporate Governance, Compliance and Ethics committee of the American Bar Association’s Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section (IRIS), is a member of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Law Cybersecurity group, and participates on the KPMG Chief Compliance Officer Exchange.

Keys became a member of the board of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago in September 2014. He has served as a founding board member of the Naperville (IL) Boys & Girls Club since 2009.

Keys earned his bachelor’s degree in Russian history from Princeton University, and his juris doctor, cum laude, from the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law.

Stephanie Kelly

General Counsel, Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer
Chicago State University

Stephanie is the General Counsel, Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer of Chicago State University.

Linda Dubnow

Senior Director & Assistant GC - Litigation & Regulatory Affairs

Linda Dubnow joined TransUnion, LLC in 2012 as a Senior Attorney and now serves as Director of Litigation. In this role, Linda is responsible for all consumer and class action litigation involving the company’s domestic information services business as well as state regulatory investigations and inquiries. Linda also provides legal counsel to internal clients representing the Consumer Contact Services and Data Acquisitions Services business organizations of TransUnion.

Prior to joining TransUnion, Linda practiced litigation for more than 15 years and was a partner at several well-known law firms representing financial institutions in consumer credit litigation matters. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she obtained her Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law.

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