Department of Justice Issues a 2019 Update of Its Guide on Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs

For the Defense

On April 30, 2019, the Department of Justice ("DOJ") published "Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs," (the "Guide"), which directs prosecutors in evaluating a company's compliance program. This 2019 publication updates DOJ's original corporate compliance evaluation guide, which the Criminal Division had issued in February of 2017.

While the 2017 document was the DOJ's first prosecutorial guide to evaluating corporate compliance programs, the 2019 document primarily updates the original guide by restructuring it in a more concise format. Indeed, the purpose of the document remains the same: to "assist prosecutors in making informed decisions as to whether, and to what extent, the corporation 's compliance program was effective at the time of the offense, and is effective at the time of a charging decision or resolution."

Defense counsel should use the Guide as a roadmap to help clients establish corporate compliance programs, as well as evaluate and improve their clients' current corporate compliance programs.

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“Department of Justice Issues a 2019 Update of Its Guide on Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs,” by Lauren E. O’Donnell, Caroline Choi, and Matthew Treiber* was published in the September 2019 edition of For the Defense (Vol. 4, Issue 3), a publication of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Reprinted with permission.

* Matthew Treiber is a student at Fordham University School of Law and served as a 2019 summer associate in Blank Rome's New York office.