For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 16

Department of Justice Issues
a 2019 Update of Its Guide
on Evaluating Corporate
Compliance Programs
Lauren E. O'Donnell, Caroline Choi, and Matthew Treiber

O

n 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.1 This 2019 publication updates
DOJ's original corporate compliance evaluation
guide, which the Criminal Division had issued in
February of 2017.2
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."3
Defense counsel should use the Guide as a

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For The Defense

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Vol. 4, Issue 3

roadmap to help clients establish corporate
compliance programs, as well as evaluate and
improve their clients' current corporate compliance
programs.
DOJ recognizes that each company's risk
profile and policies are different from a corporate
compliance perspective. Evaluating a company's
compliance program must, therefore, be
individualized. As such, DOJ's Guide does not use
a particular formula to assess the effectiveness
of corporate compliance programs, but it instead
poses three primary questions in making an
individualized determination:
1.Is the corporation's compliance program well
designed?
2.Is the program applied earnestly and in good
faith? In other words, is the program being
implemented effectively?
3.Does the compliance program work in
practice? 4



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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - Contents
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