We help companies and individuals navigate the complex issues raised when potential wrongdoing is under investigation, either internally or by the government.
Responsible corporate governance sometimes requires reporting internal wrongdoing. Increasingly, statutory and regulatory regimes require these disclosures. Even without regulatory mandates, failure to disclose wrongdoing when appropriate may subject boards and leadership to claims about breaches of their fiduciary duties.
Before deciding whether and how to disclose any wrongdoing, Ward and Smith helps companies conduct internal investigations that are discreet, thorough, and fair. Our attorneys then work with companies to help preserve their business interests and comply with applicable law while navigating difficult issues including potential discipline or other responsive actions, reporting to appropriate government agencies, and public disclosure.
Compliance Plans and Training
Before or after internal investigations, we help companies in highly regulated industries review their existing compliance plans and develop effective compliance policies to help avoid exposure to liability. We recognize that each business is unique, and avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, instead tailoring policies to the particular needs of the entity. We also provide training for officers and employees to ensure that all applicable personnel understand the applicable rules and are equipped to follow them—and to report wrongdoing.
Some investigations are prompted not by internal reports of potential violations, but by an investigation by a government agency. Ward and Smith attorneys are skilled at working with investigators and regulators to minimize potential exposure and reach the best possible outcomes.
We work with companies and individuals to respond to government investigative requests. People and entities may be subject to requests for documents or to testify before a grand jury or regulatory agency. We work with people who have been identified as witnesses to potential wrongdoing—and help make sure that they stay witnesses and do not become targets.
Our team also assists individuals who are the subjects of internal or government investigations. Increasingly regulatory pressure encourages investigators to identify individual wrongdoers. People who are involved in these investigations should not assume that their interests always are aligned with their company’s interests. Our lawyers represent directors, officers, and employees of companies conducting internal investigations or that are subject to investigation by government agencies.