British Petroleum’s (BP) law department and its online compliance and ethics training

One of the finalists this year among corporate legal departments for best use of IT (according to Legal Week, Vol. 7, Dec. 8, 2005 at 12) was BP. Its legal department “has led the field in e-learning, launching an online programme that covers compliance and ethics training.” Admirable, of course, and an advanced use of IT, but a question intrudes:

Should a law department underwrite the time and cost of developing and rolling out training tools for compliance and ethics?

A negative shake of the head from here. A law department should make sure the material covers what is legally important and that it is correct advice, but all the trappings of delivery systems, publicity, and help desks belong elsewhere. Especially, I feel, for ethics, since compliance and law have much more affinity.

Earlier in 2005 I have pushed and poked at the boundary where legal departments should pass the baton: March 18 and April 18 on contract management, July 21 on quasi-legal tasks, Aug. 27, Sept. 21 (Ethics at Raytheon), Oct. 29 (compliance and ethics), and Oct. 23.

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