46 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2016 Last revised: 17 Aug 2016
Date Written: July 3, 2016
Corporate fraud is costly, involving hundreds of billions of dollars in lost reputational and out of pocket costs for stakeholders and hundreds of thousands of job losses for employees, suppliers and customers as well as loss of lives. To prevent fraud, general counsels (GCs) are charged as the gatekeepers for the corporation. They understand the law and they are expected to use their legal expertise to advise, intervene and report whenever they are suspicious of fraud. In spite of their legally-mandated central role, however, corporate counsels typically do not appear to discover any corporate wrongdoing. In this paper, we analyze the potential reasons why corporate counsels keep silent in the face of potential wrongdoing in their own firms and propose policy recommendations to better protect shareholders’ interests against self-dealing by top management.
Keywords: General Counsels, Corporate Governance, Corporate Fraud, Gatekeepers
JEL Classification: G34, G38, K22, K41, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Avci, Sureyya Burcu and Seyhun, H. Nejat, Why Don’t General Counsels Stop Corporate Crime? (July 3, 2016). Ross School of Business Paper No. 1326. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2804352 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2804352