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Legal Risk Management Solutions for the New Year

One year comes to a close and opportunities arise for the next. Many use New Year’s resolutions to set personal or business goals for the next year. Perhaps now is also the time for some legal risk management resolutions to help lay a foundation for a prosperous new year. And while not a complete list of all legal needs, some friendly reminders accompanying a positive industry outlook never hurt.

More work in 2015 will mean more employees. Start with a resolution to review hiring documents and employee policies.

  • Update employment applications and hiring procedures to comply with federal and local requirements for equality and reporting requirements.
  • Ensure taxpayer withholdings, healthcare disclosures, and insurance obligations are being met.
  • Review and update initial training and employee policies. Make sure policies match company goals and express the requirements in clear and unambiguous language.
  • If under federal OSHA jurisdiction, update your reporting policies to conform to the requirements taking effect January 1, 2015 (report due within eight hours of a fatality and within twenty-four hours of significant injuries). See www. for more information.
  • Update Worker’s Compensation policy compliance and review existing benefits to ensure compliance with new regulations for exempt and non-exempt employees alike.

More work in 2015 may come as the result of new marketing efforts. Resolve to critically review marketing materials. Expansion of marketing into new areas or service is a good time to review existing materials and ensure they are current, do not unfairly represent business models, and accurately represent next year’s pricing. End of year is also a good time to review marketing policies themselves. Attention to public relations and social media policies is advisable because such are tools of growing importance in defining who can speak on behalf of companies and when they can/should do so.

Resolve to keep your vendors accountable. Review existing and new vendor and supplier agreements. Pricing for 2015 may already be set but get current copies of testing and compliance documents. These items can help make marketing and bidding a smooth(er) process. Yearend is also a good time to review your integrated components and confirm their current compliance with industry requirements.

It is also a good time to update code compliance materials. Yearly review of bidding and project form documents can help ensure they are updated for current code and industry needs. End of year is a good time to review code checklists, NFRC Component Modeling reports, prescriptive path compliance and energy rating materials. Being current with and understanding these requirements can help ensure compliance and increase product knowledge, which can translate into more sales.

Risk Management Resolutions

  • Review hiring documents and employee policies
  • Review marketing materials
  • Review existing and new vendor and supplier agreements
  • Update code compliance materials
  • Complete a risk management review and insurance assessments
  • Get involved with industry organizations

Yearend is also a good time for risk management review and insurance assessments. Review historical data regarding claims, product concerns, and services, looking for trends to suggest additional loss avoidance measures. Review business and sales models to see that they match existing insurance coverages and are not otherwise excluded from policies. Connect with lawyers to ensure all necessary corporate formalities are in place and are being met. Also, connect with insurance brokers to examine policy schedules and loss developments to maximize the value of premium dollars.

Finally, get involved. A new year means new opportunity to learn, connect and expand roles in industry trade groups. The future of an industry is often seen in these groups and the opportunity to contribute should not be avoided. Get involved with industry groups such as the National Glass Association and use them as resources to keep at the forefront of industry news and education.

Using a new calendar year to take stock of all business needs, including legal risk assessment, is a beneficial thing. Hopefully these resolutions last longer than the average New Year’s gym membership and produce better results.


Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson is a member of The Gary Law Group, a Portland-based firm specializing in legal and risk issues facing manufacturers of glazing products. He can be reached at