10 Inconvenient Truths About Law Firm Compliance

The Compliance Strategist

, Corporate Counsel


You would think that law firms would want to show clients that their "expert advice" on compliance programs is backed by some institutional experience with such matters.

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What's being said

  • Jose Tabuena, JD, CFE, CHC

    My view is that an organization should be ready to eat its own dog food. If I visited a company known for its cleaning goods and during the tour noticed that they actually use other products I would highly doubt their merchandise is any good.

    I would find a law firm much more credible, especially if they are large and purport to provide expert compliance program services, if they practiced what they preached.

  • Jose Tabuena, JD, CFE, CHC

    So. jdreitler@ustrademarklaw, if a compliance program will not suffice, what is needed to fix the system? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • not available

    Oh please. Really? Do clients want to pay for that new and improved service? Or do they just want law firms to bear the costs of it and not charge them anything and set up a bureaucracy like most companies have to do? Thought so. Sort of like the client song, "we want to partner with you". Translation, "I want you to lower your rates and make less money this year than you did last year." If a law firm represents a car company, when the lawyer goes to buy a new car, can they ask the car company "to partner with them" and reduce the price of the car by 10%? Thought not. Mentioning the accounting firms in the same breath is really meaningless. Most of them went to a pay for project years ago before the glory days of consulting. "Yes, we can do that project, it will cost $10MM". They didn't have to have people padding their hours. To compare the average or median law firm bill against a big accounting/consulting firm is silly. Everyone who has practiced law for a year knows why these major problems/scandals are occurring. Law firms are partnerships in name only. There are a few major shareholders in most firms who are untouchable and everyone else is a minor shareholder with little or no rights. The associates are mostly trying to pay off school debt for 3-4 years before they can get a life. And to do that they bill like machines and get bonuses and hang around for 3-4 years. Having a compliance department isn't going to change that, it will take more than a watchdog to fix this system.

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