Academic journal article American University Business Law Review

Panel Iv: Compliance Officer Empowerment

Academic journal article American University Business Law Review

Panel Iv: Compliance Officer Empowerment

Article excerpt

M = Moderator

P = Panelist

A= Attendee·

M1: Now we move to our final panel, the look of compliance officer empowerment. We have four panelists today. So first, we will have P1 who is the Chief Compliance Officer ("CCO") of [Redacted]. You can talk about your career and introduce yourself in terms of how you got to where you are. We have P2, whom you have met before. We have P3 who is Senior Counsel at [Redacted], but who has had a legal and compliance career in both government and the public sector and did fair lending compliance at [Redacted] before she joined us. At the far end is P4 who has had a career in many different places. I could almost let him tell you, but the rest of the panel would be taken up with his resume. He is a partner at [Redacted]. He and I have worked on a lot of things together over the years, including [Redacted], which explores the role of State Attorney Generals and other officials who participate in the regulation of the financial service industry. P4 has a long career in [Redacted] and in law, and brings a lot to the table here. Now we turn to the panelists. P1, I think you were going to start off.

P1: Thank you M1. So I will just give you a little background on how I got here. I started out as a government attorney in [Redacted] and then [Redacted] which is part of [Redacted], located here in the District of Columbia ("DC"). After [Redacted], I had the opportunity to go into private practice. I went to the law firm of [Redacted], which is a Los Angeles ("LA") based firm, but I was in the DC office. I spent nine years there first as an associate and then became a partner. After that I started to think about going on in-house, and I realized that I loved the practice of law, but I did not really love the business of law. I was not really interested in developing business and going out and being a rainmaker, so I thought going in-house would be a good place for me. I really wanted to be close to the business and advise the business. I did not want to be an outside attorney on the other end of a phone call on a Friday afternoon where the client says we just took this action or we just entered into a contract; can you help us get out of it? To me, it was much more creative to be on the floor with the business, helping them to make decisions along the way. One of the partners in the LA office went to be the General Counsel of a mortgage company in southern California and she asked me if I would like to join her. Of course moving from humidity and ice to sunny southern California seemed like a great deal to me. I went to LA and was the Associate General Counsel for this mortgage company. I learned pretty quickly that this industry and this company were not really my cup of tea. I was starting to think about my next move when I got another call from another partner at my former law firm and he said we have a client, a bank in northern California that is looking for its first General Counsel. Is this something you would be interested in? Of course this was the next or natural progression for my career, so I jumped at the opportunity and spent nine years as General Counsel of that bank. I was also responsible for compliance at that time and the Compliance Department reported to me. Nine years later, along came [Redacted] and it decided to acquire the bank I was working for. After the merger was complete I left, took some time off, and then started with [Redacted] as Managing Counsel in the Legal Department where I was head of the Corporate Transactions Team. My background, I should have said, is really in securities, banking regulations, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate, and corporate governance. At that time, the Compliance Department was just beginning and the company had hired its first CCO. After a couple of years, the CCO job opened up again, and I expressed an interest in it. The General Counsel expressed an interest in me taking on the role, and I have now been the CCO for three years. …

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