Adjunct professor developing corporate compliance database 

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McConnellAug. 30, 2013 – A University of Houston Law Center adjunct professor and his students are developing a first-of-its-kind database detailing codes of conduct for Fortune 500 companies.

“The database is a collection of codes of conduct dating back to 2011 that allows users to sort the information by subject matter, company, and industry,” said Ryan McConnell, developer of the database who hopes to have it on-line by November. “It’s a one-stop shop for compliance code benchmarking – there is no other tool like this in existence.

“The Law Center’s Business and Tax Journal is continuing to build on thousands of electronic spreadsheet pages – ensuring that the database and the Law Center continue to serve as a clearinghouse for compliance information.” 

Publicly listed companies are required by Sarbanes-Oxley to have a code of conduct. These codes typically are the foundation for a company’s compliance program. 

“The database is designed to aid in-house counsel and governance, risk and compliance (GRC) officers in developing and improving their companies’ codes,” McConnell explained. “It allows users to quickly locate 42 content areas within codes of conduct ranging from anticorruption to export controls and insider trading.  It also allows users to identify which policies companies are adding and removing from their codes of conduct – a virtual red-line.”

The database will be of use to those interested in studying compliance trends, including academics, attorneys, and compliance professionals.  As compliance becomes more data driven, this tool promises to be a powerful resource for compliance professionals, McConnell said.

Former students who have helped with the database include Kevin Baker, Paula Bonavides, Shaun Cassin, Briana Deanne, Angeles Garcia, Charlotte Simon, and Katherine Witty as well as former U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Law Clerk, Katharine Southard. 

McConnell, a 2003 graduate of Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Mo., and a former assistant U.S. attorney, teaches international corporate compliance and criminal procedure at the Law Center. He is a partner at McConnell Sovany, a boutique law firm focusing on compliance consulting, criminal defense, and plaintiffs’ litigation.

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