Shark-Infested Waters: The New (And Much More Aggressive) Role of Regulatory Oversight and What You Can Do to Keep Your Company Clean
James M. René, Deputy General Counsel, Alcatel-Lucent, United States
Whether you work in a small legal department with a handful of lawyers or a large department spanning multiple continents, the importance of managing the behavior of your business clients in this increasingly regulated environment is paramount. The aggressiveness of civil and criminal law enforcers has never been higher. Recent cases involving financial statement fraud, bribery, misleading disclosure, and improper marketing practices (to name a few) have resulted in multi-billion dollar fines, jail sentences, job losses, debarment from government contracts, huge legal bills and other penalties which are unprecedented in modern times. Corporate legal departments should be dedicating significant time to counseling, training and, perhaps most importantly, maintaining a high degree of visibility in their clients’ activities to ensure their companies do not appear on the radar screens of the regulators and suffer years-long investigations with uncertain and potentially catastrophic outcomes. This paper examines the most common pitfalls companies experience and suggests some simple, easy steps lawyers and compliance staff can take to avoid this fate.
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