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Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 5/7/2015 Careful Communication.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 5/7/2015 Careful Communication."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 5/7/2015 Careful Communication

2 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 5/7/2015 Careful Communication

3 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 3 Introduction Communication today is faster but not always better Unintentional slip-ups can cause legal problems for employees and our organization We need to think defensively about the legal consequences of what we say and write "Good intentions" cannot keep careless communications from becoming a legal "smoking gun" Almost everything we say or do can be used as evidence against us Documents create a paper trail that can paint a not-so-pretty picture

4 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 4 Know Your Audience Avoid behavior that can form the basis of a lawsuit Employees will generate about four trillion messages this year Careless practices expose employees and their companies to millions or even billions of dollars in potential liability Nature of makes it difficult to control flow of information and size of your audience Method of communication is sometimes as dangerous as its content

5 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 5 Know Your Audience (Cont’d) Avoid behavior that can form the basis of a lawsuit Employees will generate about four trillion messages this year Careless practices expose employees and their companies to millions or even billions of dollars in potential liability Nature of makes it difficult to control flow of information and size of your audience Method of communication is sometimes as dangerous as its content

6 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 6 Pop Quiz! Lou, an XYZ Inc. manager, is talking with a co-worker on his cell phone while on the train to work. They are discussing a planned merger that has not yet been announced publicly, but Lou was careful not to say the other company's name. Was this okay? A.Yes, as long as Lou doesn't name names and there are only a few people close enough to hear. B.Maybe, as long as XYZ and/or the company it may merge with are not public companies. C.No.

7 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 7 Understand the Law You need to understand the laws that govern our business Stay informed about your and our legal rights and responsibilities Even "notes to the file" are subject to discovery by third parties Aggressive marketing or sales documentation can run afoul of antitrust laws

8 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 8 Understand the Law (Cont’d) You need to understand the laws that govern our business Stay informed about your and our legal rights and responsibilities Even "notes to the file" are subject to discovery by third parties Aggressive marketing or sales documentation can run afoul of antitrust laws

9 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 9 Recognize Your Limits You need to be aware of your own limits Be careful when communicating about matters that are beyond your area of expertise or first-hand knowledge Example: Customer complaints Source of problem may have nothing to do with product or service Unverified complaints can be used to show "pattern" Pattern can lead to inference that product/service was defective Don't assume a complaint is true simply because someone made it

10 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 10 Watch What You Say Words can have unintended legal consequences Letter or could be used as evidence of a warranty This can open door to wide range of damages in a claim or lawsuit Keep a recommendation just that — a recommendation Make suggestions, but let the customer make decisions Don't promise more than you and we can deliver

11 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 11 Special Note…

12 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 12 Manage Closure Obtain closure of some sort — whether or not problem can be resolved successfully When you resolve a complaint, document the solution Where there is no quick fix, create an action plan to show that we are not ignoring a risk If events unfold too quickly to fix problems, look to crisis-management plan that balances legal risk with concern for public

13 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 13 Manage Closure (Cont’d) Obtain closure of some sort — whether or not problem can be resolved successfully When you resolve a complaint, document the solution Where there is no quick-fix, create an action plan to show that we are not ignoring a risk If events unfold too quickly to fix problems, look to crisis-management plan that balances legal risk with concern for public

14 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 14 Follow Record-Retention Rules All sorts of information finds its way into files Record-retention policy is powerful tool in the war against smoking guns All documents should be stored for their full retention periods All records relating to litigation must be preserved as special exception to record-retention policy Premature or selective purging of records can have dire consequences

15 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 15 Pop Quiz! Mike learns that XYZ Inc. is involved in a major lawsuit that affects a branch office in a different state. What does he need to do with regard to XYZ's record-retention policy? A.Nothing, because the lawsuit involves another office. B.Continue to follow the existing record-retention guidelines. C.Check with his supervisor.

16 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 16 Use Attorney-Client Privilege with Care Confidential communications between attorneys and their clients conducted for the purpose of obtaining legal advice are privileged communications Communications between two executives with a copy to counsel are not privileged Consult with company counsel when faced with high-risk liability situations, e.g. — Personal injury/fatality Serious property damage Threatened lawsuit Actual/potential violation of law

17 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 17 Use Attorney-Client Privilege with Care (Cont’d) Confidential communications between attorneys and their clients conducted for the purpose of obtaining legal advice are privileged communications Communications between two executives with a copy to counsel are not privileged Consult with company counsel when faced with high-risk liability situations, e.g. — Personal injury/fatality Serious property damage Threatened lawsuit Actual/potential violation of law

18 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 18 Special Note…

19 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 19 Work on Your Writing "I'm never going to put anything in writing again!" Writing improves with practice To write more clearly and concisely: Have someone review your work and provide constructive feedback Sign up for a writing course Have company counsel review important documents before finalizing them Clear writing + consistent follow-up with closure = winning process

20 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 5/7/2015 Final Quiz

21 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 5/7/2015 Questions?

22 Copyright© 2010 WeComply, Inc. All rights reserved. 5/7/2015 Thank you for participating! This course and the related materials were developed by WeComply, Inc. and the Association of Corporate Counsel.


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