Internal investigations: Their risks and benefits
We live in an era of sophisticated and pervasive scrutiny of companies (and their managers) by the government, the media, plaintiffs’ lawyers and even their own employees. Companies regularly contend with whistleblower allegations, shareholder demands, external and internal audits, subpoenas, media reports, and inquiries by the government or civil litigants. An internal investigation is oftentimes the appropriate way to respond. Because corporate or executive wrongdoing may result in criminal prosecution, large civil fines or restitution, substantial damages and negative publicity, a carefully-planned and well-executed investigation is critical.
Conducting effective internal investigations: In-house counsel checklist to preserve the attorney-client privilege and attorney work product
Many in-house corporate counsel will be faced with an internal complaint, or with an external enforcement investigation, that will require the company to conduct an internal investigation. When conducting such an investigation, in-house counsel must take immediate precautions to ensure the application of the attorney-client privilege to investigation communications and to preserve it throughout the investigation and its aftermath. While it may become advantageous to later waive the privilege in part or whole, if the privilege is not established and preserved at the outset, there will be no decision to be made as the matter progresses. This article will provide a checklist to ensure the preservation of the attorney-client privilege throughout in-house counsel internal investigations.