The Yates Memo: Prosecuting Executives for Corporate Wrongdoing in the Energy Sector

(140 Ratings)

Produced on: July 20, 2016

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by

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Course Description

Time 90 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

On Sept. 9, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a national criminal enforcement policy intended to combat alleged corporate misconduct by pursuing criminal charges against individuals. Announced by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, the Justice Department’s second-ranking official, the Yates Memo directs Federal prosecutors to withhold credit for cooperation in criminal investigations unless companies first disclose all relevant facts about the individuals involved in the alleged wrongdoing. Prosecutors should also avoid plea bargains or settlements with corporations unless and until charges against participating individuals are resolved. By ratcheting up pressure on executives, the Yates Memo is widely perceived as a counterweight to public criticisms leveled against the Justice Department that few Wall Street executives were punished for their misdeeds during the Financial Crisis. In this course, Troy A. Eid, an energy lawyer and former United States Attorney, explores the Yates Memo and the Justice Department’s increased emphasis on policing the fossil fuel industry, reflected by DOJ’s recent pursuit of high-profile criminal charges against CEOs in the coal and oil and gas business.  

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the context and purpose of the Yates Memo

  2. Identify the key components of the Yates Memo and how they may or may not differ from prosecutors’ prior practice

  3. Assess companies’ duties to disclose non-privileged information to Federal investigators about individuals’ alleged wrongdoing

  4. Explore the impact to corporate governance when companies’ own internal investigations merge with Federal criminal investigations

  5. Review the Justice Department’s recent efforts to target executives’ misconduct in criminal investigations involving the energy sector

Faculty

Troy Eid

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Troy A. Eid is a nationally known legal expert on environmental enforcement, investigations and compliance, energy and natural resource development, and Federal Indian law and Native American and Alaska Native tribal law. A former United States Attorney who has served both Republican and Democratic Presidential administrations, and a past state cabinet officer for the State of Colorado, Troy is a trusted public figure in the Rocky Mountain West and Washington, DC, and a familiar face in many federal, state and tribal courtrooms across the country.

Troy, who first joined the firm in 2003, co-founded and co-chairs Greenberg Traurig’s American Indian Law Practice Group, one of the largest and highest-rated legal teams in the United States. A principal shareholder with Greenberg Traurig's Denver office, Troy practices at the trial and appellate level. He has successfully defended clients in some of the largest and highest-profile environmental enforcement actions ever filed by U.S. Department of Justice under the Clean Water Act and other federal laws, as well as in grand jury proceedings. Troy is also frequently sought as a mediator and arbitrator, especially in cases involving Indian tribes and tribal enterprises.

An experienced legal project manager, Troy has coordinated various inter-disciplinary legal and consulting teams in numerous large-scale energy infrastructure projects, including natural gas pipelines, transmission lines, highways and railroads. He specializes in civil and criminal investigations involving petroleum-related leaks and spills, uranium contamination, hazardous waste pollution, asbestos, and other environmental and workplace safety matters, as well as health care and hospital-related regulatory, permitting and compliance projects. Troy is also a recognized authority on Native American cultural resource protection and related government-to-government consultation between tribes and the federal government under the National Historic Preservation Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and other laws.

Troy is well-respected on both sides of the aisle for his professional knowledge and expertise, especially as it relates to energy, natural resource, criminal justice, and other legal and public policy matters concerning the American West.

He served as Colorado’s United States Attorney from 2006-09, appointed by President George W. Bush. From 2010-14, Troy was elected to chair the Indian Law and Order Commission (ILOC), an independent national advisory board created by the Tribal Law and Order Act to advise President Obama and Congress on public safety improvements for all 566 federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native tribes and nations. The ILOC’s landmark 2013 report, A Roadmap for Making Native America Safer, proposes the most sweeping criminal justice reforms in Federal Indian law and policy since the New Deal. Endorsed by the American Bar Association, the ILOC’s Roadmap helped lead to the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act Amendments recognizing tribes’ criminal jurisdiction to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators in domestic violence cases.

A recipient of the Navajo Nation Bar Association’s Member of the Year Award, Troy grew up in Colorado and graduated from Stanford University and the University of Chicago Law School. He clerked for Judge Edith H. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He has been recognized for distinguished public service by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies. He was also recognized by Law Week Colorado as Colorado Lawyer of Year for representing the seller of the HealthOne hospital system in Colorado, the largest hospital-related transaction ever in the Rocky Mountain West. 

A regular contributor to the national edition of Native American Law360 and other Law360 publications, Troy teaches energy, natural resources, environmental and Federal Indian law as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Denver-Sturm College of Law. He currently serves as an At-Large Member on the Tribal Issues Advisory Board of the United States Sentencing Commission, an independent agency within the Federal judiciary that is assessing the impact of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in criminal convictions involving Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

Reviews

JB
Jamey B.

Good presentation with historical perspective.

SN
Sandra N.

Excellent instructor who provided very practical information that will be useful in advising clients.

MB
Michael B.

Excellent.

MF
Mark F.

Excellent

JB
Julie A. B.

Great, nicely-balanced lesson; clearly and compellingly taught. A fine presentation with practical application.

SV
Suzanne V.

Interesting, and informative. A sequel after the new administration is in place could be interesting as well.

SS
Steve S.

Strong presentation.

PS
Paul S.

Mr. Eid's presentation was one of the best I've watched on Lawline!

WM
Wyndham M.

Really great presenter!!

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