Multinational companies – and their corporate executives – face growing legal challenges to the conduct of their businesses from governments worldwide and myriad agencies within the United States. As the investigation and prosecution of financial crimes has been globalized, cooperation and information-sharing between agencies and across borders has increased exponentially. When regulators or law enforcement in one country begin an investigation, they more and more often are joined by their counterparts in other countries in a coordinated multijurisdictional effort. Companies and individuals can face administrative, civil, and criminal charges now in multiple countries, including follow-on prosecutions. In the United States in recent years, enforcement priorities have been in flux, and rules and regulations that can drastically impact multinational businesses – such as sanctions, trade rules, and foreign investment oversight – can change rapidly depending on the political winds. At the same time, the web of laws and regulations governing corporate conduct are often contradictory, leading to confusion and uncertainty, as what is treated as illegal in one country is not in another.
At Pierce Atwood, we are committed to protecting our clients’ interests during every phase of corporate compliance, from designing and updating compliance systems, to risk assessments, to internal investigations, through resolution, litigation, and follow-on consequences. Steps taken early on can have a significant impact down the line, and thoughtful planning ahead is critical.
Our team includes attorneys who served in enforcement positions at the US Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission. We have extensive experience with investigations relating to anti-bribery and corruption; securities, financial institution, and accounting fraud; sanctions and trade control issues; computer, privacy, and intellectual property crimes; antitrust and competition laws; and money laundering and currency controls. Often, these issues don’t occur in isolation. Bribery misconduct often involves money laundering. Sanctions violations may raise the specter of bribery. And any corporate crime implicates the possibility of securities violations. Because of the breath of our expertise, we can address each stage – from compliance to monitorship – seamlessly streamlining and integrating compliance systems and reducing the likelihood of follow-on investigations.
Areas of Expertise
Companies can take affirmative steps to lower or even eliminate the risk of disruptive investigations and enforcement actions, or to be in the best position possible if litigation cannot be avoided. Pierce Atwood lawyers can assist in developing risk management strategies relevant to the most recent developments in the United States and around the world, designing and implementing company-specific, cost-effective integrated compliance programs to prevent and detect compliance issues and covering any gaps that might exist. We conduct in-depth pre-engagement due diligence of third parties and joint venture partners, as well as pre-acquisition or investment reviews to ensure problems are spotted ahead of time whenever possible. We also have significant experience conducting global risk assessments to ensure compliance programs stay up-to-date and meet evolving global compliance standards.
If you face a whistleblower allegation or a government investigation, Pierce Atwood attorneys have significant experience conducting internal investigations that will meet expected standards of enforcement agencies, assisting in identifying issues and remediating problems expeditiously. We have particular experience dealing with multiple and overlapping investigations by multiple agencies, both domestic and multinational. Our goal is to get to the bottom of the issue while minimizing the business disruption caused by external investigations, identifying the best way to resolve a matter when national laws conflict on such matters as data privacy or privilege law, and defending the company effectively should the investigation identify misconduct. From grand juries, regulator inquiries and reviews, administrative processes, negotiating settlement, negotiating competing enforcement interests for global resolution, and trial and appeals – in both domestic courts and before international tribunals – we provide expertise that comes from years of experience on both sides of the courtroom.
Managing Post-Enforcement Issues
The post-enforcement phase of an investigation or litigation can pose serious problems for a company if it is improperly managed, particularly if the matter was settled or the company was found liable. Pierce Atwood assists in addressing the appointment of monitors in connection with misconduct, including advising companies on how to avoid getting a monitor, and, if it cannot be avoided, how to select an appropriate monitor who won’t run up fees or seek to reinvestigate the matter at issue. Pierce Atwood lawyers can also act as monitor, fielding a global team that will efficiently run the monitorship with minimal disruption to business operations. We also assist in managing ongoing cooperation; defending against shareholder derivative lawsuits, civil lawsuits from victims and competitors and other lawsuits arising out of the original enforcement matter; and addressing any ongoing debarment or contracting issues that may arise as a result of an enforcement action.