What I Read

6 Jun

Everyone needs to keep up with the times. I attended a panel at Compliance Week where the former Chief Compliance Officer of Walgreens listed “pace of change” as one of the primary stressors of CCOs.

This is especially true in the FCPA field, where new cases come out and new investigations are announced on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

I’ve been complimented more than once for knowing a lot about the enforcement record, but just yesterday, having coffee with Tom Fox and Mike Koehler, they were talking about cases: I was nodding and smiling and making “oh, yes” sounds, but I have to admit I had no idea what those cases were about. Team, Inc.? Thanks, Tom, for popping the cork on my ego.

I’ve also found that since Walmart hit the news in such a big way, there’s a remarkable amount of uninformed commentary out there. People who—as Alexandra Wrage once said—feel they can comment on FCPA because they know how to spell it.

I saw two people talking about FCPA on the news after that other FCPA expert, Donald Trump, made his well-informed comments, and they were saying with a straight face how the DOJ was “out to get” Walmart. Like Chuck Duross has on his calendar for last Thursday:

9am: Meeting with Company X about their disclosure
10am: meeting with Lanny
11am: get Walmart

You can’t fix stupid.

So it’s more important than ever that people get their FCPA news from reliable sources.

I’m going to make it easy for you. Here’s a list. All these people are, in my newly humbled opinion, absolutely worth listening to.

One caveat: there are people not on the list who I’m sure are worth reading. Please feel free to add your own list in the comments.

These are in no particular order:

Law Firm Memos:

Shearman & Sterling. Their FCPA Digest is the Bible of FCPA yearly reports. You can get it at fcpa.shearman.com, a must-see destination for anyone interested in FCPA. Personally, I can’t digest the Digest (it’s several hundred pages long), so my recommendation is just to download and read the executive summary. It’s about 25 or so pages, and it covers trends and ideas. Probably the best overall law firm FCPA publication out there. And it’s free. Let me take this opportunity once again to thank Dan and the team at S&S for their hard work and willingness to share.

Chadbourne & Parke: not your ordinary FCPA quarterly digest, Scott Peeler puts out a thoughtful piece every quarter focusing not on the normal “here are this quarter’s cases,” but reflecting a deeper analysis of one or two issues that impact us in a real way. Plus, he’s one of the few lawyers, and Chadbourne one of the few firms, that doesn’t see compliance as a loss-leader to the investigation work.

Dorsey & Whitney: more on the “here are the cases” side of the house, but monthly. I also find that they bring in more of the international cases that I tend to ignore, but shouldn’t. It’s my go-to whenever I want to know about what enforcement is looking like outside the US.

Videos:

If I may be so bold as to self-link (but only because Tom is on there), This Week in FCPA is the only weekly video out there. We try to relate how current events impact compliance in a programmatic way. Plus, we get to rant whenever we want.

Tom Fox has started a video section at JD Supra that’s worth watching.

And even more egotistically, I’ve started FCPA TV, a YouTube channel with short videos.

Blogs:

Tom Fox: my This Week in FCPA co-host. One thing about Tom, he posts every day. Buy his book to catch up, and then start reading.

FCPA Blog: The G-dfather of FCPA blogs, Dick Cassin (and now plus his team), covers a ton of stuff.

FCPA Professor: I disagree with just about everything Mike Koehler writes, but he’s incredibly well-informed. We tend to look at the same facts and draw different conclusions, but he knows more about the history of the FCPA than just about anyone. Plus, he’s my go-to person when I want to look at the underlying documents. He seems to have copies posted before anyone else.

Mike Volkov: Just moved over to LeClair Ryan. He’s got a tremendous amount of experience, and he’s really smart. He’s taking his new-found blogging freedom out for a spin (if you haven’t read his John Edwards piece, it’s a wonder), so go on over and be amazed. For me, he’s the anti-Koehler. I find myself agreeing with about 99% of what he says (except maybe the Edwards thing).

Matt Ellis: a newcomer to FCPA blogging (relatively speaking) who stormed into the space and is making his mark. He’s engaging, he has a great “voice” and his experience—especially in Latin America (but certainly not limited to it)—is incredible.

Francine McKenna: as accounting issues are right in the FCPA wheelhouse, spend some time reading Re: The Auditors, Francine’s blog. Francine is an amazing writer, and someone who, on a daily basis, tells truth to power. I don’t just read her blog, I admire it. And her.

Corruption Currents: Sam does a great job rounding up people worth reading and facts worth knowing. It’s no coincidence that a lot of the people above are regularly linked by Sam.

That’s it for now. I’ll supplement as people tell me, “how could you have skipped ______?!”

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