Category: General

Boiling Down the Attorney-Client Privilege Issue

If you want to inflame a discussion between general counsels and chief compliance officers, just try to develop a consensus on the importance of attorney-client privilege. A GC and a CCO will mouth the right words – of course, there are situations where we need to preserve the attorney-client privilege. We all agree on that.  As always, the devil is in the details. Let’s start...

Putting a Stop to Human Trafficking

Evan Lee, an Associate at The Volkov Law Group, joins us for a post on the new anti-human trafficking rules. Evan can be reached at elee@volkovlaw.com. His bio is here. Consistent with the US Government’s zero tolerance policy concerning human trafficking, a cadre of government agencies recently published a final rule amending the current Federal Acquisition Regulations provisions on human trafficking. Taking effect March 2,...

Doctor “No” Versus Doctor Practical

Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt. — Mark Twain Years ago (seems like eons), I wrote a column lamenting lawyers and compliance professionals who operate by telling their clients “No.” Of course, there are situations when you have to say “No.” But there are too many professionals who confuse providing advice with saying “No.”...

The Time is Now for Every Company to Conduct Culture Audits

Companies and CCOs are starting to get the message – the best and most effective control against code and legal violations is a culture of ethics and compliance. Those are high-minded ideals for high-level executives. The C-Suite likes to embrace these ideals but the C-Suite needs to recognize a couple of realities – a culture of ethics and compliance does not occur overnight and does...

Avoiding Silos: Bringing Together the Key Compliance Players

One of my favorite SNL skits from years ago was John Belushi as Henry Kissing, singing “Getting to Know You” with his arms around Menachem Begin and Yasser Arafat – a true classic. The same can be said for the compliance world – “Getting to Know You” is an absolute must for five important corporate functions. Continuing with my obsession to define an “effective” ethics...

An “Effective” Compliance Program is Not a Perfect One

The golden ring for every chief compliance officer is an “effective” ethics and compliance program. But if you ask a CCO if the company’s compliance program is ”effective,” they will bow their heads and reluctantly admit, “No, we need to . . . [fill in the blank].” CCOs tend to be perfectionists. It comes with the mindset and the territory. They demand perfection from others...

The Over-Criminalization of Regulatory Compliance

The Supreme Court is about to send another shockwave in criminal law. No one suspected that the Roberts Supreme Court would become a pro-defendant court but with the support of some conservative justices, the tide against prosecutorial excess is strong. From my perspective, the most significant criminal case in the last twenty years was Booker, which gutted the US Sentencing Guidelines and made the guidelines...

Future of Corporate Monitors

No company wants a corporate monitor. If you ask any General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer or Chief Executive Officer, they can list an infinite number of alternative punishments they would rather suffer than have a corporate monitor. The idea of a corporate monitor is a good one. If you ask a company after the corporate monitor departs about the experience, many will tell you that...

Third Party Audits: Biting the Bullet

The next compliance frontier in anti-corruption enforcement is third-party audits. We have spent the last few years fashioning third-party audit contractual provisions to define when and how such audits can be conducted. The issue now is for compliance professionals to work with their internal audit teams to adopt a third-party audit strategy. The first constraint is the obvious one – how much money can we...

The Compliance Revolution and Improving Board Oversight

We all know there has been a sea change in the compliance profession. No longer are compliance professionals relegated to the backwater of corporate governance. Instead, they are now front and center and being asked to design and implement effective systems to detect and prevent violations of a code of conduct and the law. The compliance profession should give itself a big pat on the...