FCPAméricas Blog

Reducing the Price of Internal Investigations

Author: Carlos Ayres

DollarSignWhen considering corporate liability, companies need to take into consideration not only the potential fines and penalties associated with a violation. They also need to consider the costs associated with a government investigation, costs that are often overlooked but can be considerable (Ed. Note: FCPAméricas discusses the high price of internal investigations here).

One of the challenges faced by counsel conducting internal investigations is how to conduct a credible internal investigation in a cost-effective manner. This post offers five cost-saving suggestions when conducting investigations.

Use of in-house resources. Counsel should consider use of in-house resources and capabilities where available and appropriate. Many companies have excellent IT expertise and structure, with employees who are familiar with forensic procedures. Such resources, if not potentially involved or connected to the possible wrongdoing in any way, could be consider to do the forensic images for data preservation, for example. Moreover, counsel should consider relying on in-house experts to provide technical expertise or information regarding specific technical aspects, rather than obtain that information from external consultants. When using in-house resources, counsel must evaluate whether or not authorities would view the use of internal resources as sufficiently through and independent. Counsel can consider bringing resources from other offices or countries with no involvement, supervision authority, or knowledge about the matter under investigation as a way to increase credibility and independence.

Define the right scope of the investigation.Oftentimes, articles are published about multimillion dollar global investigations. It is important to keep in mind that comprehensive global inquiries should be reserved for rare circumstances where they are necessary. Since overly-broad investigations are expensive, counsel should carefully define the scope of the investigation to guarantee its credibility without being unnecessarily  too broad.

Use external resources who are familiar with the company’s industry. When external resources are necessary, especially in smaller investigations, corporate counsel should consider using external resources (e.g., law firms, audit firms) familiar with the company’s industry. This can save thousands of dollars in time necessary for a vendor to become familiar with the processes, procedures and modus operandi of the industry.

Consider deduplication of documents. In most companies, the email files and storage systems contain duplicate copies of emails and other data. For example, the same email may be saved in several different places by different custodians. Deduplication eliminates the extra copies (but keeps track of all custodians who have the file) by taking just one copy of the email / document for review. The primary benefit of data deduplication is that it reduces the amount of time to complete the document review (which oftentimes is one of the most time-consuming steps of an investigation), reducing costs substantially.

Consider oral reports and presentations. Oral reports and presentations not only better protect attorney-client privilege and work product, they also require significantly less time to prepare. If appropriate, such types of reports should be considered.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author in his or her individual capacity, and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including the entities with which the author is affiliated, the author`s employers, other contributors, FCPAméricas, or its advertisers. The information in the FCPAméricas blog is intended for public discussion and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice to its readers and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It does not seek to describe or convey the quality of legal services. FCPAméricas encourages readers to seek qualified legal counsel regarding anti-corruption laws or any other legal issue. FCPAméricas gives permission to link, post, distribute, or reference this article for any lawful purpose, provided attribution is made to the author and to FCPAméricas LLC.

© 2015 FCPAméricas, LLC

Carlos Henrique da Silva Ayres

Post authored by Carlos Henrique da Silva Ayres, FCPAméricas Contributor

Categories: English, FCPA, Internal Investigations

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