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Internal Investigations 101: Investigative Procedures

An internal investigation is an important mechanism an organization can use to address an allegation of wrongdoing, determine legal liability, identify individuals or parties with culpability, comply with regulatory requirements, develop corrective measures and enhance operational efficiencies. Buckner is pleased to continue its blog series highlighting best practices, strategies and techniques that can be used by organizational leaders and counsel during an internal investigation. Today’s post will highlight investigation insights from United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) officials made in speeches and comments, which were summarized by Eugene Illovsky in a post on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation website. Today’s DOJ-identified best practice, as well as all recommendations in this series, can be applied when designing an organization’s compliance program, as well as conducting internal investigations:

Investigative Procedures. An organization’s “pre-existing compliance program” should contain procedures that monitor compliance and “uncover wrongdoing.” Naturally, the specific techniques and methods utilized by an investigator will vary depending on the allegation, individuals involved or scope of the internal investigation. However, an organization should possess “general investigative procedures” that set forth several core investigative elements, including, but not limited to, the identification of the investigator. Further, Illovsky recommends developing a “Compliance Program’s Investigations Playbook”, which he describes as follows:

“Think of those general procedures, tailored to the organization, as comprising an investigations “Playbook” for the in-house lawyer’s or director’s bookshelf. Develop them after discussions with pertinent corporate constituencies and with outside counsel or advisors about what would happen in a hypothetical investigation: How would it be staffed? Who would be the points of contact and authority? What evidence collection issues might arise unique to how the company operates? The Playbook might also include information for critical IT personnel and vendors, the latest data map (an inventory of the company’s electronic and other data sources), HR policies and employment/collective bargaining agreements, templates, company policies regarding whistleblower complaints, and any other information key personnel may need for an investigation.”

Quotes are from Eugene Illovsky, “DOJ Provides “Best Practices” for Corporate Internal Investigations”, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, available at: DOJ Provides “Best Practices” for Corporate Internal Investigations (brackets and other editorial devices were omitted from the quotes for easier reading).

Contact attorney Michael L. Buckner (+1-954-941-1844; mbuckner@bucknersportslaw.com) for additional information on conducting internal investigations and intelligence-gathering.

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About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.

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