Corporate Governance and Internal Investigations

Today's business environment presents employers with complex legal, regulatory and corporate compliance challenges at all levels of management. As a result of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and regulatory responses to the executive compensation abuses and stock option backdating scandals over the past few years, both public and private organizations must operate under an unprecedented level of scrutiny. Whereas in the past, employers might take for granted practices and policies inherited from prior management regimes, they must now examine these policies closely to ensure compliance.

Effective corporate governance today requires an inquisitive, proactive and comprehensive approach across a continuum of issues including: establishing an appropriate board of directors and management composition; implementing a code of ethics and conduct that leads to a culture of compliance; developing policies and practices, coupled with state of the art training, that reinforce these values; and developing enforcement mechanisms that allow for auditing, investigation and reporting processes. Litigation is also a by-product of today's corporate environment as employees, characterized by both legitimate as well as opportunistic litigants, claim whistleblower status and assert claims of retaliation.

The Jackson Lewis LLP Corporate Governance and Internal Investigations Practice Group has a team of experienced attorneys with a proven track record of leadership. Our practice group includes former senior in-house corporate counsel, distinguished trial attorneys and former government attorneys who take a multi-disciplinary approach to solving corporate governance issues by leveraging Jackson Lewis' undisputed expertise gained from nearly 50 years of experience serving its clients in labor and employment law. The skills Jackson Lewis clients have relied on for nearly half a century in areas such as investigation, training and preventative strategies are now benefiting clients in this new era of corporate governance.

Jackson Lewis attorneys proactively assist employers in managing the myriad of corporate compliance challenges by working with our clients to develop responsible business practices that minimize risk, by training employees to promote a culture of compliance, and by responding effectively and efficiently to audits, investigations and lawsuits. Our attorneys assist clients in:

  • Developing, reviewing and auditing company communications, policies, executive compensation plans and practices.
  • Developing compliance and ethics programs as recommended under the Federal Criminal Sentencing Guidelines and as required by Sarbanes-Oxley, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, or by entities with which the company conducts business, such as lending institutions and business partners.
  • Conducting training mandated by the Federal Criminal Sentencing Guidelines for an effective Compliance and Ethics Program.
  • Managing, assisting or supporting internal employee investigations involving alleged improper conduct, stock option backdating, conflicts of interest, and related breaches of the company's code of conduct.
  • Counseling on NASD Form U-4 and U-5 defamation claims and whistleblower retaliation claims under Sarbanes-Oxley and other retaliation statutes.
  • Representing employers in whistleblower litigation under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act before OSHA, the Office of Administrative Law Judges, the Administrative Review Board and in the federal courts.
  • Drafting and providing counsel on employment agreements for senior (C-Level) executives as well as counsel on the termination and separation agreements for these high level employees.

Jackson Lewis attorneys can assist and provide counsel to senior management as well as boards of directors, audit committees and special committees in identifying legal needs, conducting internal investigations, building a solid defense, meeting compliance requirements, and developing best practices. For more information, please contact our Co-Chairs of the Corporate Governance and Internal Investigations Practice Group: Richard J. Cino or David Jimenez.

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Diversity

Jackson Lewis is committed to promoting an inclusive culture where diversity is valued by everyone.  We are proud of our role as a leader in educating and training employers in the laws of equal opportunity and affirmative action, as well as best practices for corporate diversity programs and initiatives.  We share our clients’ goals to emphasize diversity, integrity, and respect for the contribution of every employee. We understand the importance of having a workforce that reflects the various communities in which we work, and upon which we can rely to creatively develop preventive strategies and positive solutions for our clients.  Jackson Lewis seeks to recruit, hire, retain, develop, and advance a diverse team of employees who share our passion for representing management in all aspects of workplace law, and strives to consistently act under the following guiding principles:

 

  • Encourage a better understanding of how diverse individual experiences and backgrounds can strengthen the firm and its productivity through a continuing firm-wide communication and educational process
  • Strive to help every employee realize his or her professional potential within the firm
  • Treat every person with dignity and respect
  • Promote understanding and acceptance of individual differences
  • Respect our employees’ needs to have a work/life balance

 

The firm has a standing Diversity Committee divided into sub-committees, both to ensure all vital areas are addressed, and to provide leadership opportunities for female and minority attorneys.  The Diversity Committee is Chaired by Senior Partner Weldon H. Latham, and consists of the Co-Chairs of five Attorney Resource Groups (ARGs), discussed below.  Joan Ackerstein, a member of the firm’s Management Committee, serves as Management Committee Liaison to the Diversity Committee, and Partner, Michael Hatcher, serves as the firm’s Diversity Manager.  The ARGs address mentoring, business development, pro bono activities and recruiting.  Our Diversity Committee coordinates the activities of our ARGs, which include African American; Asian American; Hispanic; Women; and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender attorneys.  Each of the ARGs meets periodically to discuss business development opportunities, client service initiatives, and other professional issues. 

 

The following groups act under the guidance of the Diversity Committee:

 

African-American Attorney Resource Group

Co-Chaired by LeRoy Watkins (Morristown office) and Dev Sukhdeo (Miami office)

A resource for Jackson Lewis attorneys looking to build and maintain business relationships with HR professionals, corporate counsel and community organizations. 

 

  • Regular meetings and informal network that helps foster a positive and supportive forum in which issues unique to attorneys of color are addressed
  • Attorneys sponsor and participate in Minority Corporate Counsel Association and National Association of African Americans in Human Resources events, are active members of the National Bar Association and National Employment Law Conference

Asian American Attorney Resource Group

Co-Chaired by Tanya Bovee (Hartford office) and Nicky Jatana (Los Angeles office)

Primary goal is to increase the firm’s visibility among Asian Pacific American and other minority attorneys.

 

  • Proactive recruitment efforts at the law school level to encourage candidates of different backgrounds to apply for positions with the firm
  • Mentoring and assisting Jackson Lewis attorneys in their training and development
  • Introducing and communicating the capabilities of the firm to in-house counsel, human resource professionals, and other key decision-makers within the Asian Pacific American business community and beyond
  • Facilitating a variety of management education programs and presentations on employment, labor, benefits and immigration law topics
  • Supporting and participating in a number of professional organizations, including the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the North American South Asian Bar Association and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Hispanic Attorney Resource Group 

Co-Chaired by James Botana (Chicago office) and Pedro Torres-Diaz (Miami office)

Holds regular meetings to foster communication and teamwork among the group’s members in connection with our efforts to develop as lawyers and expand our business.

 

  • Committed to  increasing the firm’s visibility among Hispanic-American and other minority attorneys, as well as mentoring the firm’s attorneys to assist in their training and development
  • Has developed and maintained its Spanish Language Legal Services to enhance the firm’s reputation and service level to existing and prospective clients in need of such services 
  • Attorneys participate in Minority Corporate Counsel Association and Hispanic National Bar Association events at both the national and local level

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Attorney Resource Group

Co-Chaired by Michelle Phillips (White Plains office) and Pedro Forment (Miami office)

A consortium of attorneys and staff committed to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the workplace, our LGBT ARG provides an open forum for the exchange of ideas, current legal trends, and information on LGBT issues that are then shared internally and externally to promote an inclusive work environment in which respect and tolerance are the pillars of our firm culture.

 

  • Reaches out to LGBT and diversity professionals to build and maintain business relationships with corporate counsel, human resource professionals, chief executive officers and trade, non-profit, and professional organizations
  • Routinely provides speakers for a variety of management education-focused presentations, including the avoidance of sexual orientation and gender identity harassment and discrimination, diversity initiatives, domestic partner and marriage benefits and emerging same-sex legal developments
  • Participates in/supports a number of organizations and events, including the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York, Society for Human Resource Management Diversity Conference, Echelon Magazine, Professionals in Human Resources Association, the National Lesbian & Gay Law Association and the Lavender Law Conference

Women's Attorney Resource Group

Co-Chaired by Susan Corcoran (White Plains office), Peggy Strange (Hartford office) and Samantha Hoffman (Orange County office)

Committed to involving Jackson Lewis attorneys in opportunities for business development by and for women.  Our firm has been a leader in this area, demonstrated most notably by its annual employment law conferences for women in-house counsel and human resource executives. 

 

  • Holds regular teleconferences to foster new and sustained marketing initiatives and share successes from around the firm
  • Assists the firm to attract and retain professional and support staff and to create new business opportunities firm wide through fostering the development of rainmaking and leadership skills among Jackson Lewis attorneys
  • Expands the scope and breadth of opportunities for all Jackson Lewis attorneys and facilitates participation by providing mentoring and sharing resources specific to this aspect of our business development efforts
  • Committed to enhancing the firm’s reputation among women’s legal and professional groups through active participation and leadership in such organizations
  • Includes membership in women’s bar associations, local chambers of commerce, and women’s business organizations