Ropes & Gray Partner Amanda Raad on Mapping Corporate Culture

Corporate criminal defense lawyers might be good at facing down federal prosecutors.

Amanda Raad
Ropes & Gray

But when it comes to proving to those prosecutors that the company has a corporate compliance culture that works, you might need more.

Including data analytics and behavioral science professionals.

That’s one reason why Ropes & Gray set up its R&G Insights Lab – to pull these experts together and seek to map corporate culture and bolster compliance programs.

Amanda Raad is a partner at Ropes & Gray in London. And she is founder of the firm’s data and behavioral science initiative.

Raad is also co-chair of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association’s (WWCDA) program committee. 

Last month in London, Raad moderated a WWCDA panel titled Effective Compliance Programs and Value in Global Resolutions.

The panel included commentary from Lauren Kootman and Vanessa Sisti of the Department of Justice, Sara Chouraqui of the UK Serious Fraud Office, Terri Segura of Zimmer Biomet, and Michaela Ahlberg of Getinge.

The panelists addressed how the Serious Fraud Office and Department of Justice look at  compliance programs. Also addressed was the controversial practice of compliance certifications – the Justice Department requiring compliance officers to sign off on the corporation’s compliance program.

Kootman said that the certifications are meant to empower rather than to entrap chief compliance officers, saying that an effective compliance program does not need to prevent every wrongful act. 

Kootman also recommended incorporating risk assessments into compliance program presentations, noting they are critical to demonstrating that a company understands its risk profile enough to mitigate risk.

Compliance officers are worried about their own legal risk now given all the talk about compliance certifications. Compliance officers are asking – if something goes wrong, are we facing enforcement?

“I do think we will see compliance certifications,” Raad told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last month. “The Women’s White Collar Defense Association had an event earlier this year where AAG Polite spoke. And we just had another event where we heard from Lauren Kootman. She is in the Corporate Enforcement, Compliance & Policy Unit of the Fraud Section. In both instances, it was made clear that the intention was that compliance had a central voice at the table, an empowering role. It was not meant to be used as a punishment tool. It was there to ensure empowerment of the compliance function. We will continue to see compliance certifications.  Lauren indicated as much as well when she spoke.”

How does data analytics inform your work?

“I was pleased to see regulators talk recently about their increased focus as well on data analytics and bringing that into the expertise they use. Data tells a big part of the story.” 

“Whether you are conducting an investigation or any kind of proactive review, it’s all about finding what data exists and making sure you are reading it correctly. That can come in many shapes and sizes. It can be email review, other communication data, it could be transactions, accounting data.” 

“We work with not just lawyer and accountant teams, but also with data scientists and data experts, to make sure we are being as efficient and effective as we can be.”

How do you use data analytics and behavioral science to establish compliance driven cultures?

“The data analytics part is about finding the right data to tell the story of culture. People say it’s hard to measure culture. And of course, there are subcultures everywhere also. The data helps you tell that story so that you can identify the voice of the organization or the culture of the organization as it may exist in several different forms.” 

“Behavioral science is looking at how we get information from people and how do we tell a story. We are looking at how we ask questions, how we train people, how we conduct surveys and gather information. It’s not just lawyers working on the culture review. We are working with data scientists and behavioral scientists alongside the legal professionals to identify the culture and test the culture over time.”

Is that the proactive compliance building work? Or do you use data analytics and behavioral science in defending companies confronted with government investigations?

“It’s both. The same principles apply when you are conducting an investigation to respond to an enforcement action.” 

You launched something called the R&G Insights Lab. What is that?

“It is the home within Ropes & Gray where we bring in these non legal experts to join forces with the firm.”

“It is where we bring in the data scientists and the behavioral scientists to work alongside  the attorneys in the compliance space and all of our areas to make the work that we are doing as effective and accessible as it really can be.”

You wrote a piece recently titled – Compliance Programs: Window Dressing or Part of a Company’s DNA?

How do you know which it is?

“It’s about not following the check the box approach. It sounds so basic. So much time and energy and resources have been expended to make sure companies have a compliance framework and structure, that they have policies and procedures, that they have a program for training and monitoring. We have moved to a place where most organizations understand that. But the real test is – does any of it mean anything? Do people actually know what the company’s policy is on a particular issue? Where to go for help, what the training is telling them, do people feel comfortable raising their hand and speaking up if they have a concern? It’s going beyond the paper to understand what the ethics, values and culture at an organization is.” 

Are women defense attorneys more likely to call out window dressing than male defense attorneys?

“If you are a good defense attorney, you are going to highlight this as a key factor. You are going to be questioned on it. There is no way you are going before the regulators and not be questioned on it. I don’t think whether you are a woman or a man is going to define that. It’s whether you actually understand the importance of culture.”

People talk a lot about tone at the top. But tone at the top could also be window dressing.

“One hundred percent. You need tone at the top, in the middle and throughout the organization.” 

Five years ago we interviewed Hui Chen – 

“Hui works with us now – she’s at R&G Insight Labs.”

We interviewed her when she was leaving the Justice Department. What is the status of the compliance unit at the Justice Department now?

“They have a whole department now that Lauren Kootman helps lead. She is with the Corporate Enforcement, Compliance & Policy Unit of the Fraud Section. She is the person I think of in that role now. It is very much building on and applying the compliance program guidance. They are heavily involved in looking at companies before the Justice Department and their compliance programs, the effectiveness of their compliance programs.” 

“That goes into decisions about resolutions and monitorships. It’s very similar to the work that Hui was doing at the Justice Department. Hui is a phenomenal speaker. We were lucky enough to have her on this recent panel where she spoke a fair amount about the group’s work and their expectations on compliance programs, including on the window dressing point we were just talking about.”

You are a member of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association. How did you come to it? And what difference has it made in your life and practice?

“I was fortunate enough to start working with the organization as a pretty young junior associate. It has grown in that time into a very large organization with chapters all over the world. It is such a terrific platform for bringing people together and helping show how strong a bench of women practitioners are in this space all over the world. It is such a global network to bring forward the capabilities that we have.” 

“When I moved to London, one of the first things that was easy for me to do was to become more involved in the London chapter. It’s just a great way to connect with women and to elevate the great work we are all doing. I had the opportunity recently to become a co-chair of the programs committee alongside Hartley West. We are doing a four part series on global enforcement and compliance best practices. It has been just a true pleasure to bring that to life this year, bringing in regulators from around the world with in-house professionals. It’s a great way to make sure we are current on trends and make sure the voices of strong capable women around the world will be heard in this space.”

[For the complete q/a format Interview with Amanda Raad, see 36 Corporate Crime Reporter 30(13), Monday July 25, 2022, print edition only.]

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