Achieving Credibility in Internal Investigations: Getting Inside the Enforcer’s Mind

Despite the white collar defense community’s intense focus on the subject of internal corporate investigations in recent years, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) leaders have expressed growing dissatisfaction with the “superficial” quality of some investigations. A “check-the-box” approach to internal investigations can lead the government to redo an investigation at enormous cost to the client or worse, increase the client’s exposure. What does it take to satisfy the government? A careful review of the history of internal investigations, evolving SEC and DOJ guidance, recent published decisions and press releases, and the authors’ experience conducting investigations suggest at least one x-factor unifying the elements of a successful investigation: getting inside the mind of the government investigator.