March 01, 2015

Guideposts for Handling Corporate Investigations

Several significant issues recur in these investigations that can be addressed in ways that may bolster the odds of a better outcome.

Samuel W. Cooper

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Corporate investigations—both those initiated internally and those resulting from government regulatory enforcement activity—are a growing part of legal practice. These investigations often seem to take on a life of their own, lasting for years, costing millions (or tens of millions) of dollars, and significantly disrupting day-to-day business activities. With increasing frequency, these investigations also lead to various types of civil actions, resulting in yet more cost and business disruption.

While there is no single right way to handle corporate investigations, several significant issues recur and can be considered and addressed in ways that bolster the odds of a better outcome. This article examines five such issues: the structure of the investigation, privilege concerns, managing data, public disclosures and investigation resolution papers, and follow-on civil litigation.

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