CURRENT DEVELOPMENT 2009-2010: Sarbanes-Oxley Section 307: A Progress Report on How Law Firms and Corporate Legal Departments Are Implementing SEC Attorney Conduct Rules Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2010 Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics
Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT 2009-2010: Sarbanes-Oxley Section 307: A Progress Report on How Law Firms and Corporate Legal Departments Are Implementing SEC Attorney Conduct Rules

Summer, 2010

Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

23 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 859

Author

JAMES L. SONNE *

Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Throughout the last decade, the role of the corporate lawyer has received increased public scrutiny in light of high-profile corporate scandals. 1 After frauds at Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, and other large public companies sparked a public outcry over corporate responsibility, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) to prevent future financial collapses and restore confidence in U.S. capital markets. 2 To address the role that lawyers played in the scandals that brought down some of America's most acclaimed public corporations, Congress added Section 307 to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires attorneys to take various forms of action if they believe federal securities laws may have been violated.

The problematic relationship between Enron and its counsel paints a striking picture of how lawyers can play a significant part in corporate governance failures, whether as active participants or willingly ignorant bystanders. 3 An official report on Enron's collapse, the "Powers Report," criticized both Vinson & Elkins and Enron's in-house counsel for displaying a lack of objective professional advice and oversight. 4

The intent of this Note is to lay the groundwork for a full appraisal of Section 307's implications for the legal community by unearthing limited anecdotal evidence of how law firms and general counsels have changed behavior in light of Sarbanes-Oxley Section 307 requirements. This Note utilizes the results of interviews and literature on law firm and in-house-counsel actions to report on the private-sector legal industry's response to Section 307 as put into practice by Part 205. ...
 
 
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