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Legal Implications of Apologies

(787 reviews)

Produced on December 19, 2016

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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Beginner
Topics covered in this course: Constitutional

Course Description

Public apologies by corporations and individuals have become commonplace, regularly appearing in newspapers, on TV screens, and via social media.  Many such apologies are criticized for managing to side-step admissions of wrongdoing. Others are praised for taking full responsibility and expressing genuine remorse. But these surface-level critiques don't address the complicated calculus involved in deciding whether and how to apologize, which is impacted by the wide variety of motivations for apologizing, differing assessments of apologies' potential advantages, and – perhaps most critically – an evaluation of the apology's legal consequences.

Panelists Stuart Levi, Steven Lipin, Paul Schnell, and Larry Speigel address the potential criminal, civil, and regulatory consequences of apologies and how these influence corporate decision-makers and their advisors in dealing with high-stakes transactions, disputes, and public relations crises.  They also examine key communications considerations in issuing apologies, such as who, what, where and when, and strategically how to get the most credit from key stakeholders.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Identify differing definitions and varieties of apologies

  2. Consider diverse motivations for apologizing

  3. Examine potential legal consequences of apologies in criminal, civil, and regulatory spheres

  4. Address key communications considerations in issuing an apology

Credit Information

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Stuart D. Levi

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Stuart D. Levi is co-head of Skadden’s Intellectual Property and Technology Group, and coordinates the firm’s outsourcing and privacy practices. He has a broad and diverse practice that includes outsourcing transactions, technology and intellectual property licensing, privacy and cybersecurity advice, fintech and blockchain matters, branding and distribution agreements, cloud computing agreements, technology transfers, strategic alliances and joint ventures. His background in computer science, data privacy and the information technology industry allows Mr. Levi to understand the technology and business drivers underlying agreements and transactions in these areas.

Steven Lipin

Gladstone Place Partners

Steven Lipin counsels clients on financial communications, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations and crisis and litigation situations. Mr. Lipin joined Brunswick in 2001 as its US senior partner. He joined from The Wall Street Journal, where he was the Finance Editor, supervising the paper’s coverage of mergers, commercial banking, private equity and corporate finance. From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Lipin covered mergers and acquisitions for the Journal, and before that he reported on commercial banking and capital markets. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Journal, Mr. Lipin has been a guest speaker at the Tulane Law School Corporate Law Institute and the International Bar Association.

Born in New York City, Mr. Lipin graduated from Boston College in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in economics. He is a board member of Student Sponsor Partners, a member of the Board of Advisors of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship In Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia Journalism School, and a member of the Board of Overseers of the Columbia Journalism Review.

Paul Schnell

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Paul Schnell has been named one of the leading lawyers in the U.S. and has been recognized globally and in the U.S. as a leading lawyer in areas such as M&A, private equity, corporate governance, corporate, finance, health care and Latin America.

Surveys that recognize Mr. Schnell include Chambers Global, Chambers USA, U.S. News and World Report, The Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who Legal, Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, IFLR1000 and Chambers Latin America. In 2015, Mr. Schnell was named as a “Dealmaker of the Year” by The American Lawyer. In 2014, he was the only lawyer twice named “Dealmaker of the Week” by The American Lawyer and the only lawyer to lead two M&A deals ranked by the Financial Times among the year’s most innovative transactions.

In 2015, Mr. Schnell was involved in 39 publicly disclosed transactions, having an aggregate value of $450 billion, including 23 deals valued at more than $1 billion each. He has been active in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia, and in all of the BRIC countries.

Mr. Schnell has worked with a large number of the most prestigious companies in the world, advising on major corporate transactions, corporate governance and other matters. He coordinates the firm’s worldwide health care practice and has an active practice in all sectors of the industry, including pharmaceuticals, services, medical devices and life sciences. Mr. Schnell also chairs the firm’s Latin America practice.

Lawrence Spiegel

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Lawrence S. Spiegel has more than two decades of experience advising individuals and corporations in complex criminal and civil matters. He has represented corporations, their directors, officers and employees in cases involving allegations of mail and wire fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, government program and procurement fraud, bank fraud, consumer fraud and money laundering.

He represents clients in connection with federal and state grand jury investigations, in inquiries by regulatory agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, and at trial. He has successfully defended many clients in high-profile criminal investigations and indictments and on appeal.

Mr. Spiegel has particular experience advising clients in the context of concurrent criminal proceedings and civil litigation. In addition, he has led many corporate internal investigations, and has advised boards of directors and management of public and private companies on compliance issues and programs, including those related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Mr. Spiegel serves as the firm’s general counsel and co-chairs the firm’s Ethics Committee. He is also a member of the firm’s Client Engagement and Risk committees and participates on the firm’s Policy Committee (ex officio). Mr. Spiegel is recognized in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America and The Legal 500 U.S.


Tiffany N.

Very interesting and informative. I love the panel style and examples.

Deenah S.

This was a fascinating course and presented very well. The presenters did an excellent job.

Elizabeth G.

Good podcast

Opal B.

The panel discussion format worked very well for this course. It was very interesting to get different perspectives of the issue of corporate apologies from attorneys in different corporate practice areas.

Jeneen M.

Nice job.

James K.

An excellent panel discussion/presentation

Michael B.

good class

Bonnie C.

Very effective panel presentation!

David F.

Very very good.

Karen H.


michael g.

Very knowledgeable presenters who made the material very interesting.

Wendy M.


Stuart Z.

interesting session on a valid subject

Amy E.

interesting topic

Christopher B.

As a corporate counsel, I very much appreciated this program and will utilize much of what I learned in it.

Fred B.

I liked the multi-panel approach to illustrate the different perspectives and considerations involved.

Kathy D.

Great cartoon

Raymond G.

Good panel, good course

Mabel v.

It was nice to have more than 1 speaker. It was also very informative.

David B. M.


Andrea M.

Helpful to hear from professionals having several different areas of expertise looking at same issue.

Robert M.

Excellent discussion concerning factors to be considered regarding corporate apologies.

John G.

A must for any business lawyer with corporate clients

Daniel A.


Pam F.


Tosha M.

Very interesting

Brent C.

Good topic.

Ruth G.

They actually get it. I'm impressed.

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