Former federal official urges reform of foreign bribery law

UHLC symposium covers wide range of ethics and compliance challenges.

Alderman George Terwilliger
University of Houston Law Center Interim Dean Richard Alderman welcomes guests to the symposium. Former Deputy United States Attorney General George J. Terwilliger, III discusses FCPA reform.

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June 6, 2013 – Ethics and compliance professionals gathered at the University of Houston Law Center Thursday to provide attendees with practical advice for and real-world examples of the challenges of today’s multinational companies in a global economy.

“This symposium is important because compliance has become such a major part of business entities in the United States,” said UH Law Center Interim Dean Richard Alderman, director of the Center for Consumer Law. “Ethics and compliance challenges ultimately affect an organization's survival.”

The day-long Ethics and Compliance Symposium, which is has become an annual CLE event, was sponsored by the consumer law center at the Law Center.

Former Deputy Attorney General George J. Terwilliger, III opened the conference by discussing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and how it is enforced in regards to the anti-bribery provision. The FCPA prohibits companies from paying bribes to foreign government officials and political figures for the purpose of obtaining business or an unfair advantage.

“The FCPA is in need of reform,” said Terwilliger, co-chair of Morgan Lewis' White Collar Litigation & Government Investigations Practice. “In its current state, the FCPA is not as effective as it could be in achieving the very objectives that Congress set out to achieve when it enacted the legislation.”

According to Terwilliger, the act and how it is enforced creates unnecessary obstacles to international business and entrepreneurial practices. The status quo is a “drag to economic expansion,” he said.

“Reform should be aimed at making the FCPA good for business by creating a level playing field internationally,” Terwilliger said. “This is especially important because business is the engine of economic development.”

Other sessions included interactive presentations and panel discussions on a variety of topics including privacy, hospitality, using technology in compliance programs, global compliance challenges and joint venture issues.

Lauren Stevens Erica Salmon Byrne
Lauren Stevens, former GlaxoSmithKline in-house lawyer who was accused of obstruction of justice by the DOJ but vindicated at trial when the judge threw out the government's case discusses her experience. Erica Salmon Byrne, Executive Vice President of Compliance & Governance Solutions for Corpedia, moderates a discussion about compliance challenges with panelists Andy Hinton, Vice President of Global Ethics and Compliance for Google Inc.; Vanessa P. Rossi, Sr. Director of Compliance & Enterprise Risk Management for Sysco Corporation; and Shane Kimzey, Deputy Chief Legal Officer for CEVA Logistics

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