Are in-house lawyers becoming the scapegoats for corporate misdeeds?
That’s the question the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) seeks to answer. The organization, which last week held its annual convention in Orlando, has launched a project that will document the frequency and likelihood of cases in which prosecutors and regulators target inside counsel when their companies are in trouble. To gather the data, the ACC has asked law firms to relay information about their clients’ experiences.
“The government, regulators, perhaps even opposing counsel, have a target on your back,” Amar Sarwal, the ACC’s chief legal strategist, said during the conference last Monday.
The association’s suspicions aren’t unfounded, as there have been multiple cases recently in which in-house counsel and other executives face tougher penalties for company wrongdoing. One case that particularly rattled in-house lawyers was the prosecution of Lauren Stevens, a vice president and associate general counsel at GlaxoSmithKline who was accused of obstructing a government investigation into possible off-label marketing at the pharmaceutical company. Stevens spoke about her experience at the ACC’s convention. Stevens lauded the judge who oversaw her case, Maryland U.S. District Judge Roger Titus, for dismissing the case and criticizing the prosecution for targeting her for doing her job.
Click here to read about lessons from the Stevens case.
For more advice about how to avoid problems when your company is in trouble, read: