Laurent Cohen-Tanugi Avocats is a boutique international law firm based in Paris, serving its clients’ needs in the anti-corruption compliance area by providing the following services:
- Strategic assessment of corporate compliance functions;
- Support in design and implementation of robust compliance programs;
- Fulfillment of independent FCPA and other anti-corruption compliance monitorship mandates;
- Pre- and post- acquisition anti-corruption due diligence;
- Ongoing compliance advice and compliance crisis management;
- Internal investigations.
Our General Approach and our Team
We believe that a robust and sustainable anti-corruption compliance program must take a holistic approach to the threat of compliance violations, and must, at a minimum, involve the following principal components:
- risk assessment;
- detection/investigation; and
Furthermore, compliance standards are constantly evolving, and companies must continue to innovate, by improving, as appropriate, their policies, procedures, supporting IT tools, training programs, controls, as well as remediation to address any identified issues.
Our method combines benchmarking against best practices and taking a tailored approach to assessing the particular needs, risks, and realities of our clients. A successful compliance program is not simply a set of written policies and procedures, but rather a way of ethically and legally doing business that is embedded in all levels of the company and implemented in a rigorous and consistent manner.
Our core team is comprised of French-American corporate and international transactional lawyers, with relevant compliance and regulatory training and experience. When and if desirable for a mandate, we involve experts with specialized knowledge and experience, such as auditors and IT specialists. We are sensitive to business and cultural nuances and are keenly aware of the stakes involved for companies operating in an evolving global framework and subject to foreign legislation such as the FCPA or the UK Bribery Act.
Services Offered as part of a Strategic Assessment of Corporate Compliance Functions
We tailor each of our assignments to the specific needs of our clients.
An example of the services we offer is a strategic, high-level assessment of a company’s compliance systems, which may comprise the following steps:
- Thoroughly understanding our client’s business
Due to the uniqueness of each company, there is no one-size-fits-all compliance program. The first step in our assessment of where a client stands on compliance is therefore efficiently learning about the company from a business standpoint. Through focused presentations from the company, document review, and tailored interviews with selected business executives, we learn about our client’s business model, current operations worldwide, vision for expanding, governance structure, and any particular areas of operation the company perceives as risky.
- Analysis of our client’s compliance-related functions
We review the compliance-related functions– such as risk assessment, audit, legal, compliance, investigations, finance, and human resources – within the company, including governance structures, reporting lines, roles and responsibilities, resources, training programs, and related matters. Through presentations from – and interviews with – relevant personnel at the company, we gain an understanding of the approach to anti-corruption compliance currently implemented at the company and the respective roles of the relevant gatekeeper organizations.
- Corporate policy and process review
We review and conduct a preliminary assessment of the adequacy of the corporate compliance policies in effect at the company we are working with. We review our client’s compliance policies and benchmark them against best practices. As part of such benchmarking, we may additionally look at, and make a snapshot assessment of, the control environment, the incident reporting channels available within the company, the policies and procedures in place to respond to any allegations raised, and the disciplinary and remediation policies and practices.
- Interviews with key business and compliance personnel
We meet with key members of the company’s management team and compliance personnel, as well as members of the compliance-related functions and selected business leaders, in order to learn more about and assess the systems in place, and to gauge the company’s compliance culture and tone at the top.
- Country visits
As part of our high-level review, we generally undertake at a minimum one on-site visit to a company’s operations in a country abroad. The country review may consist of presentations, interviews, document review and system walkthroughs, with a goal of making a preliminary assessment as to how the corporate compliance policies and systems in place at the company are rolled out in practice and implemented on the ground.
- Identification of focus areas
Once we have gathered a thorough understanding of a company’s business activities and compliance risk profile, we may select, together with the company, a number of focus areas for deeper inquiry. Such focus areas may include relations with third parties (such as agents, consultants, JV partners, logistics services providers), M&A compliance due diligence, real estate and infrastructures, hospitality and entertainment practices. In coordination with our client, we may choose to look into one or two of these focus areas in more depth, by requesting further materials and information from the company in order to gauge the strength of the controls and policies in place with regard to the selected risk areas.
As part of our work product on such assignments, we typically provide our client’s senior management and Board of Directors with a report outlining the principal findings of our strategic review. In addition, we include, as appropriate, recommendations as to any perceived gaps or specific areas for improvement. If desired, we may organize sessions to present our conclusions to select members of the client’s management.