Clark Hill's White Collar Defense and Compliance practice group is experienced in all aspects of criminal, regulatory and enforcement matters. Our lawyers, including former federal prosecutors and a former FBI agent, are prepared to respond to client needs in both proactive and reactive circumstances, and we regularly counsel clients on compliance and corporate governance issues. Whether we are responding to allegations of wrongdoing or directing proactive efforts to help avoid such allegations, our lawyers have the experience and judgment to zealously defend and represent our clients.
Clark Hill’s lawyers actively partner with clients to ensure the effectiveness of corporate compliance programs, which are more vital today than ever. Overwhelming government regulation, aggressive enforcement action, and the complexities of doing business in today’s global market place, demand high ethical standards and adherence to strict compliance programs. Companies need to adopt a proactive approach toward compliance and the promotion of a culture that encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to compliance, as well as programs designed to identify and mitigate risks. Our lawyers, who speak and publish regularly regarding compliance, have the depth of knowledge and experience to assess the company’s compliance programs, design any necessary modifications, provide requisite training in all areas of operations, and otherwise help meet all compliance goals. Clark Hill is also one of the few law firms with experience serving as an independent corporate monitor appointed by the government to oversee the establishment of a multi-faceted compliance program for a publicly-traded corporation.
Internal investigations are critical for detecting potential wrongdoing, preempting government action, and restoring corporate integrity. Clark Hill prides itself on conducting efficient, cost-effective and minimally disruptive internal investigations. Internal investigations must be swift and incisive, yet sufficiently balanced and measured to provide for informed action. Internal investigations are critical to ensuring that management makes informed, rational decisions with respect to actual or potential violations of law and compliance policies. In addition, internal investigations are useful in assisting clients in making appropriate public disclosure of material facts and in avoiding corporate liability for the criminal or wrongful acts of employees. Our lawyers have decades of experience conducting thorough and oftentimes sustained investigations in a variety of areas, both national and international.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Doing business internationally can be very profitable, but it can also present some interesting challenges and legal risks. When conducting international business, many companies confront issues such as language and cultural differences, as well as different philosophies on handling business transactions. These differences may lead to legal problems, including allegations of bribery and corruption costing companies millions of dollars.
Bribing foreign officials is illegal in the U.S. as well as in most countries. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) prosecute bribery cases under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). In the past several years, the number of criminal and civil FCPA prosecutions has increased significantly, and the Department of Justice has vowed to seek longer jail sentences for individuals in its war against corruption. Criminal and civil penalties imposed on corporations are increasingly severe. Thus, companies doing business internationally must understand the FCPA and employ tools to avoid violation of the Act. Our White Collar Defense group, along with our International Law Practice Group, assists companies in preventing and defending allegations of foreign corrupt practices. Our attorneys routinely assist companies by:
- Developing anti-bribery compliance policies in conformity with the FCPA;
- Drafting and successfully implementing an effective FCPA compliance program, including FCPA training;
- Assisting in performing due diligence on potential employees, third-party agents, joint ventures, partners and affiliates;
- Drafting and reviewing contracts between corporations and third-party agents, joint ventures, partners and affiliates;
- Developing methods of internal reporting of potential FCPA violations;
- Conducting internal investigations into FCPA allegations; and
- Defending individuals and corporations against allegations of FCPA violations;
Examples of recent matters handled by our White Collar/Compliance attorneys include:
- Led a complex internal investigation into FCPA and compliance issues in Beijing, China, on behalf of an international corporation involved in a joint venture with the Chinese government.
- Served as a corporate monitor of a publicly-traded corporation in a healthcare fraud matter where responsibilities included, among other things, the establishment of an entire compliance department, program, policies and procedures.
- Represented the CFO of an industrial corporation in a $46 million FCPA action.
- Represented a multi-billion dollar domestic corporation under investigation for money laundering which resulted in a declination of prosecution.
- Implemented web-based compliance training program (LRN) required of more than 100,000 employees.
We strive to detect, analyze and solve problems at the earliest stage and with as little disruption as possible. A primary objective is to prevent government enforcement through effective compliance programs, corporate governance programs, and internal safeguards. Being mindful of the government’s increased use of parallel proceedings, we investigate and negotiate with the government while making every effort to protect our client’s information and ensure that any information provided is not utilized in a parallel context.