Avoid The Next Wave Of Scandals - Those Coming From Overseas

Monday, October 1, 2007 - 00:00

Al Driver, Editor

Our interview on page 9 of two Tyco lawyers who play key roles in its carefully structured compliance efforts discusses issues that should be considered by every corporation that operates globally. We can't provide the answers, but we can pose some of the questions. Here are some of the questions that you as corporate counsel might ask yourself.

Have you considered whether the advantages you perceive in convergence can be achieved in your relationships with foreign counsel? How many of your foreign counsel use an e-billing system that presents information in a form that is compatible with the matter management system you use to monitor the activities of domestic law firms? Who takes responsibility for the quality and cost of work done by your foreign firms?

Are you confident that your foreign counsel (both inside and outside) interface just as effectively with your local managements (including middle management) of your foreign operations as your U.S. lawyers do with your management here at home? Do your foreign counsel speak the language and know the culture sufficiently well to be able to nip potential compliance violations in the bud?

There is general agreement among the present and former general counsel that a key element in the general counsel's credibility as a persuasive counselor to the CEO and board is having pervasive information about the corporation and its governance and compliance issues. Does your system for informing the general counsel about issues that deserve her attention assure that she will be informed of such issues when they arise with respect to your global operations? If the chief compliance officer does not report formally or informally to the general counsel, will this create communication breakdowns or additional costs?

You can get information that will help you answer these and many other questions, both from the speakers (and, at breakout sessions, from your peers) by attending the Conference on "Meeting the Challenges of Global Compliance" in New Jersey on October 17 or in New York City on October 18 (See page 8).