Publicly held companies often have conflicts and crises that demand an international investigation. Oftentimes, such organizations lean on law firms to conduct these investigations. Sometimes the expertise of an attorney or a team of attorneys is required in response to “up the ladder” style reports from whistle blowers, auditors and others. Internal investigations are also necessary as a means of responding to regulatory enforcement activities.
Whenever an internal investigation is conducted by a team of attorneys, they must be cognizant of the fact that a series of ethical and strategic elements typically arise. Oftentimes, these are the direct result of a whistle blower’s actions. It is up to the attorneys to navigate these sensitive issues in professional, respectful and moral manner.
In other instances, attorneys provide legal counsel to committees or directors while an internal investigation is being performed. Their knowledge of the law’s minutia helps publicly held companies in a number of legal contexts. For example, a group of experienced attorneys can perform an exhaustive internal investigation of publicly held company’s committees or records in an effort to have a wide range of legal actions dismissed.
Other issues that attorney led internal investigations can resolve include employee and officer misconduct, financial fraud, conflicts of interest, insider trading, FCPA issues, misappropriation of assets, bribery, bid rigging, price fixing, counterfeiting, embezzlement and much more. Highly trusted attorneys are also capable of representing the corporate executives of publicly held companies during internal investigations conducted by outside sources such as an Audit Committee Counsel.
A well-seasoned legal team is particularly valuable to conduct an internal investigation as a key component of a coordinated defense when the prospect of a criminal inquiry is raised. Publicly held companies often desire the assistance of attorneys to conduct an investigate of such an alleged wrongdoing and to subsequently provide advice regarding the next step. This is a critical service as it might result in the reporting of a wrongdoing to law enforcement authorities.
Regardless of the type of internal investigation that attorneys undertake, they must go to great lengths to draft investigation plans that are uniquely tailored to the idiosyncrasies of each publicly held company. A team of experienced attorneys will go out of their way to work in unison with the company’s already existing internal audit staff in an effort to maximize the internal investigation’s efficiency and accuracy.
When the SEC initiates an enforcement proceeding, the company in question should lean on the legal experience of a knowledgeable securities defense attorney. A skilled attorney is capable of defending both large corporations as well as sole proprietors in such an important scenario. Securities enforcement investigations are oftentimes egregiously complex. These challenges require the attention of an attorney who knows exactly how to navigate such matters with the artful precision of an experienced legal veteran.
A securities enforcement proceeding is often undertaken to investigate violations like securities fraud or unregistered offerings. Such proceedings can trigger a number of unfortunate results. These include temporary restraining orders (TROs), court ordered receiverships, disgorgement, preliminary and permanent injunctions, monetary penalties, asset freezes, director and officer bars and administrative orders that can bar organizations from the securities industry. Since the ramifications are often quite severe, a securities enforcement proceeding will require the legal experience of an attorney. He’ll help to protect the company’s brand, reputation and potential for profits.
An experienced attorney will understand the nuances of securities laws and regulations. The rules of the game aren’t static. They are dynamic, meaning that they change on a routine basis. Regulators and judges also have the freedom to make their own interpretation of the rules as they see fit. When the rules change, they can have an enormous impact on current cases and disputes. Without the help of an advanced legal team, a corporation faced with an enforcement proceeding will face a steep uphill challenge that is just about insurmountable. Life is much easier with a team of attorneys in your corner.
When an enforcement proceeding occurs, the attorney’s first responsibility is to handle the initial inquiry. He’ll be there for every critical juncture from there on out. After the inquiry, he’ll help to protect the company’s interests throughout the formal investigation. He’ll respond to administrative subpoenas for documents as well as “on the record” style testimony. His role will be essential during litigation, administrative hearings, pre-trial hearings, and any potential settlement negotiations.
These legal hurdles are significant and they have the potential to cripple an organization that lacks the proper legal representation and assistance. An accomplished litigator will draw on his breadth of securities knowledge and experience to handle an enforcement proceeding with the attention and care that it deserves. Savvy attorneys understand that each case requires an approach that is individual tailored to the specifics of the matter at hand. This attitude empowers a legal team to keep an open mind and determine the course of action that best serves the interests of each unique client.
Being a business owner is both rewarding and challenging. Helping and serving others leaves you feeling satisfied and eager to continue doing what you love, but having to deal with issues like taxes, bookkeeping and legalities may leave you ready to give up and become an employee in someone else’s company. Corporate compliance is one issue that requires the assistance of someone who deals with the topic regularly and is well-versed in best practices.
Martin Russo, attorney at law, makes your business his business and is able to help you with corporate compliance for your public company. Failing to comply with corporate compliance requirements can result in serious legal consequences which will waste far more resources than taking the time, money and effort to follow them from the start. Hefty fines, penalties and government sanctions may be imposed if your company fails to adhere to corporate compliance laws.
Attorney Martin Russo can help you with:
- Developing your company’s compliance plans, manuals and codes of conduct.
- Adhering to the federal securities law’s reporting and disclosure requirements.
- Complying with the securities exchange and self-regulatory organization requirements.
- Training and educating employees in related matters.
- Conducting internal audits on the company.
- Guiding you on privacy and security issues.
Attorney Russo is available to offer you guidance from his extensive knowledge and experience so that you can address each of the compliance issues thoroughly. By being proactive in your approach you can avoid future legal problems and remain compliant with the applicable government guidelines and regulations.
One thing that is certain in every business is that you will run into unexpected and unforeseen problems that you’re not able to handle on your own. He is here to handle those issues for you so that you can focus on doing what you do best.
For a consultation to discuss corporate compliance of your publicly held company with Martin Russo, attorney at Gusrae Kaplan, contact him at 1-212-269-1400 today. He will help you create an effective corporate compliance plan that meets both the needs of your company and the government requirements.