Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The University of Texas, The Review of Litigation's Symposium this year was devoted to white collar crime. Titled, White Collar Crime and the Changing Corporate Environment, Chief Symposium Editor Heather Mahurin and staff did an incredible job of bringing together top practitioners and a judge to examine the evolution of white collar crime and factors affecting this area. The event was sponsored by the law firm of Vinson & Elkins. I had the pleasure of being the first speaker and providing an evolution of white collar crime.
The first panel of Tim McCormick (Thompson & Knight) and Carl Wessel (DLA Piper) looked at internal investigations and when one should seek outside counsel. It was not surprising to hear them mention the recent FCPA investigations, noting that the pharmaceutical area seems to also be part of the recent DOJ focus. Tim McCormick also talked about the concerns that get raised with Upjohn warnings.
A second panel looked at white collar crime prosecutions and it was appreciated that the Hon. Jennifer Coffman, Chief Judge of the Eastern District - Kentucky offered a judicial perspective. Along with Kent Schaffer (Bires and Schaffer), there was a good bit provided on how emails were affecting the landscape of white collar cases. Mr. Shaffer noted how "people put things in emails that are shocking." Telling "the story" to the jury is important, as is humanizing one's client. The participants on this panel also provided wonderful information on dealing with experts in white collar cases. The expert needs to be "not too academic" and "clear."
A final panel was focusing on parallel proceedings and included top individuals like Solomon Wisenberg (Barnes & Thornburg). It will be good to see the published works from this important symposium.