ACC beefs up compliance portal for in-house

In-house counsel looking for some help with compliance issues may find the answer they’re looking for in the Association of Corporate Counsel’s re-launched Compliance Portal for corporate lawyers.

The portal, which contains information on 35 different topics, was developed as a resource for in-house lawyers managing business issues and regulatory challenges and designed to focus on global and cross-border issues related to general business, data privacy, workplace, and other legal topics.

Comprised of more than 30 resource “bundles,” the portal provides interactive learning courses from training provider WeComply, as well as presentation scripts, training materials and multijurisdictional survey tools from Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

“When we developed the bundles for the various topics we realized people learn in all kinds of ways. Everything you would need to train someone — from PowerPoint slides to videos to resources for the person doing the training can be found here and we’ve added content to help them,” says James Merklinger, vice president and general counsel for the ACC.

The portal offers an inexpensive way to provide training to an in-house team, adds Merklinger.

“If you’re training your staff on these things ideally you’re training to prevent things from happening that would create a liability and expense in the future.”

From corporate governance and money laundering to social media and workplace bullying, the bundles highlight a variety of topics. For example, there is a link to information about the Canadian Competition Act, providing a summary and overview of the four main areas of focus and e-learning courses.

“If you go to the section on Canadian Competition Act it will provide you with anything that is recent. Infopaks and check cards were developed to make it as easy as possible for lawyers to use,” says Merklinger. “Some of these are in the form of a handout or something that could fit it a wallet. There are also games you can use that are new.”

A section on cross-border issues includes resources related to anti-corruption, U.S. export controls, and Office of Foreign Assets Controls sanctions and embargoes. Other categories deal with best practices in appropriate Internet use, code of conduct, and government contracting.

“The role of today’s in-house lawyer is challenging and comes with a high level of scrutiny, particularly for compliance issues,” says Veta T. Richardson, president and chief executive officer of ACC. “As a result, ACC developed a tool to enable our members to stay ahead of the curve by using a wide array of resources in the portal to mitigate risk and manage compliance issues.”

Compliance has become a growing concern for in-house lawyers. In 2013, 87 percent of general counsel and chief legal officers ranked ethics and compliance as an increasingly important issue, according to the ACC 2013 CLO Survey. The survey, which represented responses from more than 1,100 respondents from 36 countries, also found government and regulatory changes to be the next most significant issue for respondents in the year ahead.

The portal will be updated on an on-going basis with new resource bundles, as well as links to compliance committees, local networks and on-site ethics training sessions.

Additionally, ACC plans to incorporate health care bundles, multimedia, multijurisdictional guides, and portable compliance programs for its 55 chapters worldwide.

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