Corporate Employees At Risk: Strategic and Practical Implications of the Yates Memo

On September 9, 2015, Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates issued guidelines for the civil and criminal accountability of officers and managers for corporate wrongdoing, known eponymous as the Yates memo. it should come as no surprise that the Department of Justice (DOJ), under the new leadership of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, issued this pronouncement redoubling efforts to hold culpable corporate officers accountable both criminally and civilly.

At its core, the Yates Memo does not usher in a new legal infrastructure changing the liability of corporate officers. Whether the Yates Memo has a real and lasting practical impact remains to be seen. It is still early and interested parties must await the trickle of the first few individual prosecution. One thing is certain: corporate executives, officers, and managers must pay attention to their roles and actions when faced with assertions of corporate liability and be cognizant of their own potential legal exposure. This awareness will undoubtedly have a counterproductive impact on a corporation’s ability to ferret out what happened, determine how extensive the wrongdoing was, and make prompt disclosures to the Department of Justice.

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