• Compliance,  Ethics,  Internal Investigations

    Summer of Love to Altamont Murder: Innocence, Guilt and Corporate Compliance In A Kavanaugh Era

    The recent furor over the nomination and confirmation of Judge (now Justice) Brett Kavanaugh puts us in mind of a messy truth for companies and businesspeople who must deal with investigations and charges of all stripes, whether as the investigator (in conducting a corporate internal investigation, for example) or as the subject of the charges (a grand jury investigation, or a regulatory enforcement action, or at trial).  In order to create workable compliance programs; to advance a corporate culture the way we wish to; or to defend a company or its executives or employees, we need to come to terms with with a truth not so much “un-American” as “a-American,”…

  • Cooperation Agreements,  Special Counsel

    The Winter Olympics of Cooperation: The Bridge On The River Kwai, White-Collar Self-Image and Federal Sentencing

    With all of the discussion  about Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his “cooperators,” now is an appropriate time to revisit the basics of “cooperation” in white-collar investigations. “Cooperation” is a complex concept for individuals and businesses caught up in white-collar criminal cases, compliance reviews and breakdowns of business ethics.  As with the more obscure or corrupt Winter Olympic events, there are ways to demystify the complexity, but it is not easy. In David Lean’s 1957 film The Bridge On The River Kwai, we see cross-currents of duty, vainglory, cooperation, resistance, collaboration and death.  (We also hear some great whistling, but that is another matter).  All of these ideas and emotions come…

  • Compliance,  Parallel Proceedings

    FIFA Indictments, Corporate Compliance, Alfred Kinsey and Robert Lee

    Law360’s Zachary Zagger has a nice piece on the FIFA prosecution and quotes, among others, Jack Sharman: “Given this many defendants and the fact that there is going to be at least some who are going to cooperate, it would not surprise me if there wasn’t a second wave of charges or people coming out of the woodwork, people you have not heard of yet,” said Jackson R. Sharman III, a white collar criminal defense attorney with Lightfoot Franklin & White LLC. “If it is going to survive, it is going to have to have a more rigorous compliance structure than some of the items that have come across thus far,”…

  • Bribery,  Compliance,  FCPA

    FIFA Indictments and the Notion of Global Compliance

    In an article by Joel Schectman for the Wall Street Journal and its “Morning Risk Report,” Jack Sharman is interviewed about the idea of a global compliance regime in light of the recent indictments of FIFA officials: Jackson Sharman, a white collar specialist at Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC, says that the case shows that the notion of a swelling, global compliance culture may be exaggerated. Attorneys and compliance professionals often make the mistake of believing their concerns about bribery are representative of the organizations where they work, he said. “It’s dangerous to assume that a legal regime is being internalized by everybody, because clearly it’s not,” Mr. Sharman said.…

  • Parallel Proceedings,  Universities

    Dear Colleagues All: University Discipline, Sexual Assault and The Department of Education

    Title IX. Crime. Sexual assault. University disciplinary procedures. Civil litigation. Enormous amounts of money. The Fifth Amendment. And that’s all before you hire a lawyer. This is a perilous time for university disciplinary systems and those who administer them, especially with regard to claims of sexual assault.  A college or university can find itself in the midst of – indeed, at the helm of – a set of quasi-criminal parallel proceedings that can make the school liable to student complainants, student respondents and federal enforcement authorities. How does this happen, and what are the factors to keep in mind to minimize that exposure? Disciplinary systems and educational missions have been…

  • Compliance,  Ethics

    McKinsey, General Lee and the Culture of Compliance

    Except perhaps for “paradigm” and “silo,” the word “culture” is one of the most abused in the vocabulary of compliance, ethics and consultants.  (I once heard a consultant say that he needed “a high hover over the silos.”  I thought it an ironic mash-up about drones and agriculture; it was not).  Yet, “culture” has a meaning in the broader world; in commerce; and in compliance.  “Culture” represents a gear-shift in compliance and ethics, and can be smooth or bone-rattling. Consider this story about  McKinsey’s culture in the wake of insider-trading scandals: For a quarter of a century, except for a brief stint as a currency analyst at Rothschild, Mr. Barton has…

  • Cocktails,  Compliance,  Ethics

    Weekend: GCs on Boards and Gin in Ice

     Notes For the Weekend:   I tend to agree:  No, General Counsels Should Not Be On The Board.  The conflicts can be too great.  GCs sometimes have a hard enough time, as it is, being honest brokers and, as the saying goes, speaking truth to power. Especially good corruption, bribery and FCPA collection from Corruption Currents  (via@WSJRisk).               As always, a good summary of white-collar news from @WaltPavlo and 500 Pearl Street.   And finally . . . The best “coffee-table” book I have read on martinis is The Martini: An Illustrated History of an American Classic by Barnaby Conrad III: A chilled, crystal…

  • Compliance,  Sentencing

    Mine Blast Plea: Dust, Documents and Deaths

    As the  article (via @Law360) points out, Ex-Massey Exec Gets 42 Months In Mine Blast Case this Massey mining manager pleaded to “pre-notifying” about MSHA inspections (and conspiracy pertaining thereto).  It’s interesting that, in his plea colloquy, he was was apparently careful and narrow, almost ascribing a business-culture source for the conduct: “I’m sorry for what I’ve done — pre-notifying about mine inspections,” Hughart said at his sentencing, according to the Associated Press. “I grew up that way. I accepted it as common practice. I know better now, and I apologize.” That kind of approach needs to be handled gingerly, though.  The larger case landscape is important for sentencing considerations…

  • Bank Fraud,  Compliance

    What They’re Saying About White Collar Wire: “Sage advice . . . to any American citizen.”

    Generous comments from Professor Michael Greve at Liberty Law Blog: You can follow much of the current action [regarding banking and regulation] on WhiteCollarWire, which provides sage advice to bankers and, indeed, any American citizen: “Don’t read us because you’re a criminal. Read us because, some time or other, someone may think you are.” (In addition, the site provides fine literature reviews and martini recipes.)