Friday, February 23, 2007

Marshaling Integrity - Rebecca Walker

These excerpts are taken from our interview of Rebecca Walker, who we asked about providing compliance advice from a large law firm and also as a solo practitioner.

My interest in the beginning really lay in white-collar, criminal defense work. Compliance, especially then, in the early 90s, was in many ways an adjunct to criminal work, and in some ways it still is. I say that because (especially in the beginning) compliance really emanates from the Sentencing Guidelines, which are criminal; the Sentencing Guidelines guide judges in terms of sentencing for crimes. When companies got in trouble, whether they were under investigation or under indictment, they would often go to compliance to better their situation with prosecutors, or because the SEC or another agency insisted as part of a consent decree.

From my practice perspective, what I think is the mistake that is sometimes made is that outside compliance professionals, and in-house too, perhaps forget that their client is the company. Keeping in mind that the client is the company means keeping in mind that the client is not the general counsel or the CEO or high-level management. Every outside lawyer is subject to that issue, not just in the compliance field.

Rebecca Walker's interview is included in Working for Integrity: Finding the Perfect Job in the Rapidly Growing Compliance and Ethics Field.

(All interviewees spoke to us about their own personal experiences and opinions; interviewees were not acting as a spokesperson or otherwise representing their current or former employers.)