On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel of regulatory compliance and corporate legal professionals at the NLJ Regulatory Forum in Chicago. My panelists were representative of the audience: both large and highly regulated companies (United Airlines and Target Stores) and smaller businesses (Alliant Credit Union). All were there to both learn and share their perspectives on the most pressing compliance challenges they face, and what they have learned from their various approaches to addressing these challenges.
The panel discussion was in part driven by findings of a recent Mitratech survey of corporate legal teams, and was designed to better understand the legal department’s role in their companies’ corporate regulatory compliance programs. The value of the panel discussion, and the contribution from the other event participants, was expansion on the quantitative answers that our empirical survey generated (for example, we called into question a prevailing assumption that compliance responsibility is being taken away from corporate legal teams in response to DOJ and SEC guidance), and to provide qualitative understanding of recent trends that take into account the real compliance challenge of instilling a culture of compliance from top to bottom in an organization.
We talked a great deal about a more federated approach to compliance, with responsibility for various aspects of compliance being distributed, but with accountability for core functions still residing in the legal team. We heard about the challenges of being perceived as the “department of no,” and how proactively forging relationships with business stakeholders can overcome that perception. Most of all, we concluded that there is no one size fits all solution to the role of the corporate legal team in an enterprise regulatory compliance program, but that there are key skills and perspectives that this team can add to an effective compliance program.
Here at Mitratech, we are proud that many of our leading client legal departments are using our incident management and investigations solutions to minimize these risks, helping to make their Office of the General Counsel the best-run function in their respective companies.