Teaching Compliance Part III of III

by Veronica Root Martinez

This is the third in a three-part series describing my experience teaching compliance at Notre Dame Law School.

This semester, I have been teaching a new compliance course in Notre Dame’s London Law Program.  Notre Dame Law students have the opportunity to come to London for the semester or year, and one regular faculty member, in addition to the director of our program, is in residence in London each semester.  As you can imagine, many of the courses offered to students have an international focus.  To keep with this norm, I’m teaching a course I’ve entitled Global Compliance Survey.

Like my other compliance course, I start with introductory materials that outline what compliance is and how external enforcement and internal self-policing contribute to the compliance function.  Then we begin the survey.  This term, we have covered anticorruption/bribery, competition/antitrust, anti-money laundering, tax evasion, market abuse/insider trading, cybersecurity/privacy, and human rights.  In covering this material, I typically assigned readings that covered U.S. legal or regulatory requirements and UK requirements.  Some class sessions also had background reading from jurisdictions like Brazil or the EU.  I chose case studies where there were often multiple enforcement actions from different jurisdictions.  For example, we covered the Petrobras corruption scandal, LIBOR manipulation, and the allegations of money-laundering at HSBC. 

In addition to the substantive areas of law, the students have seen two (at least) important themes throughout the course.  First, the importance and difficulty of enforcement coordination by different actors across the globe.  How should a firm be sanctioned when it has engaged in alleged misconduct prohibited in the U.S., UK, and Brazil?  How would enforcement authorities decide how to split the pie?  What if the different jurisdictions fail to cooperate?  Second, the extensive monitoring that compliance departments are charged with maintaining becomes apparent during the course.  Students quickly learn that ensuring compliance isn’t as simple as monitoring a firm’s employees.  Those charged with compliance efforts may also need to monitor the activities of their contracting partners or customers. 

Our last few sessions focus on some broader challenges for firms charged with creating compliance programs for multinational companies.  For example, we look at how the attorney-client privilege can look quite different in the U.S. from other countries.  We also focus on how one might educate one’s partners on certain compliance norms and requirements.

The course, a bit of an experiment—as all new courses are—has gone well.  I’ve been impressed again and again by the quality of engagement and insightful contributions from the students in the course, many of whom are engaged in legal externships in London during the semester.  It has been an extremely enjoyable course to teach that paid dividends to both the students and myself. 

Veronica Root Martinez is an Associate Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School.  Her scholarship is available here.

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