Internal Investigations and Corporate Compliance


  • November 29, 2017
    Northwestern Conference on Contemporary Issues in Complex Litigation
    Evanston, IL
  • December 4, 2017 | NACD’s Advanced Director Professionalism
    Miami, FL

Throughout the world, business entities today are often challenged by the need to conduct internal investigations to examine allegations of wrongdoing. Whether or not actual misconduct is discovered, such inquires, and their aftermath, can pose serious risks to companies and their employees, damaging their reputation, interfering with their business operations and exposing them to heightened government scrutiny and potential criminal, civil and regulatory liability.

Internal Investigations

Dechert lawyers have an impressive track record of resolving these difficult and sensitive matters discreetly and favorably without prosecution. Our lawyers have represented organizations and their officers, boards and senior management in all phases of civil and criminal investigations, actions and prosecutions. We regularly assist clients with responding to government and regulatory investigations, negotiating with and litigating against the Department of Justice, the SEC, FINRA and the various stock exchanges and state regulatory bodies. Whether allegations of misconduct arise internally, as a result of a government investigation, whistleblower claims, an audit or from civil or criminal litigation, our lawyers act promptly, investigating the allegations and offering strategic solutions to resolve the situation and limit our clients’ exposure.

Our white collar defense and securities teams include more than 90 lawyers throughout offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, Russia and Asia. With many former prosecutors and government lawyers in our group, we provide experienced guidance, determining the facts, assessing legal exposure and recommending appropriate action, including development of, or modifications to, compliance programs.

When our investigations uncover misconduct that may require notification of law enforcement authorities, we strategize with clients to determine their reporting obligations and the best ways to limit their liability when reporting is required or advisable. With extensive experience in the litigation, regulatory and corporate governance matters that often parallel or arise as a result of internal investigations, our teams can seamlessly and efficiently handle all dimensions of problems that may arise.

Compliance Programs

In the wake of corporate scandals, increased legislative and regulatory scrutiny, whistleblower actions and cross-border cooperation among law enforcement entities, companies need to establish and enforce active and effective corporate compliance programs to deter, detect and correct misconduct. Our lawyers work with clients to establish these programs and the internal controls necessary to support accuracy, accountability and transparency. Partnering with clients, we assist them in developing and implementing corruption compliance programs sufficient to cover conduct occurring anywhere in the world and aimed at minimizing the risk of violations of securities laws, accounting principles, company policy and regulatory schemes that govern their businesses. Together with prompt reporting, such programs often are the best line of defense when violations occur.

Our internal investigations and corporate compliance team regularly assists clients with:

  • Crisis management
  • Responding to allegations of financial fraud and accounting irregularities, antitrust violations, breach of fiduciary duty and a host of other challenges
  • Conducting internal audits and forensic investigations
  • Recovering assets taken through illegal schemes
  • Conducting due diligence investigations to prevent and detect inappropriate conduct by officers, directors, employees and agents
  • Establishing special litigation and other board committees designated to investigate and address allegations of potential wrongdoing
  • Handling derivative, class action and other litigation related to alleged corporate misconduct
  • Developing and administering codes of conduct
  • Monitoring and auditing systems to detect prohibited conduct
  • Counseling boards of directors and corporate officers in transactions with controlling stockholders
  • Addressing whistleblower allegations
  • Defending companies in government investigations, criminal prosecutions and civil enforcement actions

Our clients include worldwide financial institutions, industrial manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and public and private businesses, their boards of directors and senior executives in internal, government and agency investigations, as well as in litigation in many different commercial industries. We often work with senior management, corporate counsel and audit committees and special committees of public companies to conduct investigations and to monitor compliance programs. Combining the substantive experience of lawyers in our many practice areas, we offer clients practical advice tailored to their unique needs and goals.