Vantage Viewpoints- Inside and Outside Counsel Answer Readers' Questions


In this issue's Vantage Viewpoints, Michael Lacek, in-house counsel at MetLife, and Neil Lang, partner in Sutherland's Litigation Practice Group, answer questions about internal investigations. Send your questions for the Vantage Viewpoints section at

Why do I need outside counsel for Internal Investigations?

The short answer to the question is you don't. As nice as it would be to suggest that outside counsel is an essential part of any interal investigation, the simple fact is that in many, if not most situations, inside counsel can effectively conduct or direct internal inquiries. Indeed, internal investigations that do not involve senior management are often performed better and more economically by in-house personnel.

Many larger companies have well established and highly competent internal audit and compliance examiners who can effectively and efficiently investigate a wide range of issues relating to operations, regulatory matters and certain types of financial issues among others. Other significant advantages of internal investigations conducted by internal counsel are the knowledge and familiarity that company employees have with the business, the persons being interviewed, the recordkeeping system, the institution's culture, access to management, and how these aspects may have impacted any potential issues. Last, but not least, it is generally easier to control out of pocket costs when inquiries are conducted internally.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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