One of the least appreciated but easy to use tools to manage and control legal risk are checklists. I like to use checklists on a regular basis in many departments as checklists bring to focus only risks that have been encountered in the past but can be tailored for a particular industry or sector or business division.
What are checklists? Checklists are a list of topics, questions or items normally derived from the risks encountered previously that provide a convenient means to rapidly and easily identify possible risk. They take the form of either a series of questions or a list of topics or items to do or to be considered. Organizations may generate checklists for themselves or make use of standard checklists available from their particular industry or business sector. The nice part about checklists is that they are easy to create (once you know the right questions to ask) and use as a method of deducing risk.
For example, if you are in a manufacturing company which designs products, would you have a checklist about the safety steps that should be followed instead of trying to reinvent the wheel by figuring out what potential safety issues exist
What if you are drafting the warning and labels for products your company is manufacturing? Wouldn’t a checklist of questions help in the drafting. As you can see from the checklist below, once you understand the industry and business sector, the right questions to ask or items to list are a great help in managing legal or business risk. The checklist could look something like this:
As you can see, checklists are quite handy. I use them often when counseling clients on risk. Use them on a regular basis if you can.