The second and less obvious way in which lawyers contribute to risk management strategy is through possession of that clearest of all 20:20 vision: hindsight. Of course, where a specific event has occurred in the past, the risk that it will happen again has in all likelihood been recognised and addressed. But detached from the immediate commercial pressures of the business, lawyers have greater freedom to think laterally and to use that vision to see how current circumstances might lead to a different hazard.
In one situation in which Beachcroft Wansbroughs was involved, the object was to assign acceptable degrees of risk to operating businesses and establish criteria for referring new potential risks to the corporate centre. During the analysis it became apparent that different business were each, independently, supplying the manufacturers of a particular product in a way that meant, potentially, the corporate exposure to risk was greater than any of the businesses could have recognised in isolation. The subsequent detailed analysis of rights and duties across the corporation and across jurisdictions allowed a proper risk assessment to be made. Experience of how innocent producers of components can be drawn into product litigation was an important element in that process.
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