Remove compliance and ethics from the law department

“It’s best not to position compliance and ethics people in the law department, says Joseph E. Murphy, counsel at Compliance Systems Legal Group and author of Building a Career in Compliance and Ethics (Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, 2007).” I have felt that one reason for this separation is that compliance professionals feel like they are second-class citizens around lawyers (See my post of March 26, 2005: second-class citizens; May 20, 2005:merging compliance and law under the GC; July 31, 2005: law and compliance housed together; Sept. 27, 2005 #4: Merrill merges the functions; April 15, 2007: compliance and its reporting lines; and Dec. 2, 2007: why it is best to separate the two functions.).

Following this quote in GC Mid-Atlantic, March 2008 at 13, Murphy recommends that law departments “hire non-lawyers to implement and run the compliance department; have a manager who is not acting in an attorney role (although the employee may or may not have a law degree) to oversee ethics and compliance, and also have one in-house counsel to oversee the legal angle.” Much of compliance is execution, not interpretation of laws and regulations, so compliance is ripe for non-legal management.

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