The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly: Ethical Internal Investigations
Created on December 20, 2018
Corporate internal investigations dealing with possible (or actual) wrongdoing have become increasingly popular. CEOs and boards of directors sometimes seem to order these investigations as a matter of course. While there are numerous good reasons to proceed with an internal investigation, there are many downsides and risks that lawyers need to consider when advising their clients.
This program, taught by C. Evan Stewart, a Senior Partner at Cohen & Gresser LLP, will discuss how to conduct investigations under the protections of the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine, review issues when dealing with governmental regulators, ethical challenges in handling these investigations, the risks to lawyers inherent in such investigations, how English law differs on how investigations can be handled, and (from very prominent litigation) how not to handle an investigation.
Mr. Stewart is also a visiting professor at Cornell University and an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School. He has been a regularly contributing columnist for the New York Law Journal since 1990 and has published nearly 300 articles on diverse legal subjects; he is also frequently featured in the national media and regularly speaks across the country on securities, professional responsibility, and complex litigation issues. In 2016, Mr. Stewart was awarded the Stanford D. Levy Award from the New York State Bar Association's Ethics Committee for his contribution to the field of legal ethics.
- Discuss the reasons to conduct internal investigations
- Review the risks to the corporate client when investigations are not handled correctly (e.g. the "shield and the sword doctrine", the viability of "selective waiver", whether or not "oral downloads" work, the challenge of interacting with auditors, the "bloodhound" factor, the "silver platter doctrine", and more)
- Assess the ethical issues facing lawyers who conduct investigations, as well as other professional risks attendant to doing work in this area
- Contrast English law that governs corporate investigations in order to understand what risks it poses, and how to (potentially) protect your client
- Appreciate the dangers of handling an investigation the wrong way by a deconstruction of a very prominent litigation
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