Client’s Challenge: A Multi-Tenant Facility Gets Squeezed by the Local Police Deparment

Recently, a corporate client of a law firm specializing in real estate development, among other areas, was served with a lawsuit. In effect, the city was suing to compel the corporation to employ guard services and other high-cost security measures at one of its properties. The multi-tenant facility is located in a neighborhood with a growing crime rate, within a city whose police department – like so many others – faces increasingly limited financial resources. After reviewing the credentials of members of Hillard Heintze’s Senior Leadership Council, one of the firm’s partners engaged our services.

Our Solution: Experts Take an Objective Perspective – and Find Win-Win Solutions

Over a five-month period, Hillard Heintze supported this professional law firm and its client in four distinct ways. First, it provided an analysis of the existing documentation and current security environment to aid in preparing for depositions, meetings and hearings. Second, it developed a cost-effective strategic plan – based on best practices, data analysis and research – to advance the facility’s safety and security objectives in alignment with the police department’s security concerns. Third, it collaborated with the police department in finding common ground to implement the strategy. And finally, it supported the client, as directed, with meeting, mediation and hearing assistance as an advisor and expert witness.

Impact on the Client: Facts – and a Corrected Record – Absolve the Client of Further Burdens

This suit is ongoing. But Hillard Heintze’s work has already helped reverse previous court-ordered sanctions and administrative penalties and fines. The partner leading the case has explicitly recognized the critical role Hillard Heintze’s knowledge and expertise played in demonstrating that the costly level of security staffing proposed by the police department was grossly exaggerated and that the public-safety-related issues raised by the city were easily addressed through a range of cost-effective strategies.

Hillard Heintze’s analysis demonstrated to the court that while violent crime does occur in the complex, the level was not endemic, and in fact, had declined over a four-year period. The firm’s formal court declarations helped counsel argue the probability that the police department targeted this complex as an example of crimes that occur throughout the city’s low-income neighborhoods and viewed the property owners as having sufficient financial resources to comply with their demands.

Unplugged: The Project Manager's Post-Engagement Perspective

“This particular case is still unresolved. But in crafting our recommendations to the client – and, by extension, to the court – we took a lot of care to put together a thoughtful integration of complementary strategies and tactics.

I think we performed well in meeting that goal. They had to be both 1) financially and operationally practical measures and 2) strong grounds to support a successful negotiation process or mediation between this particular police department and the facility’s owners.”

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