A Successful Internal Investigation

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Situation

Choose your poison. A whistle-blower complaint is lodged against your company; the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has called to say it plans to investigate a recent restatement of earnings; or your general counsel receives a derivative demand letter. The charges could be serious, but at this point you don’t know.

In-House Council Challenge

An internal investigation is obviously in order. Key to its success is the credibility of the investigative committee and process. Any potential conflicts of interest must be identified and resolved at the outset. If executed properly, the regulators and the courts will view the investigation and the company in a positive light.

Approach Adopted

The decisions you make during the first 20 days of the investigation will determine your likelihood of future success. Act quickly, because a measured but swift response will positively impact how the SEC or the Department of Justice (DOJ) perceives the investigation, and perceptions matter. A delay will cast a negative light.

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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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