- FCPA Professor - http://fcpaprofessor.com -

I’m Not Sure Why A Law Firm Actively Marketed This “Favorable” Settlement

As highlighted in prior posts here [1] and here [2], the recent Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Juniper Networks was an $11.7 million joke.

For starters, the company was under FCPA scrutiny for an unconscionable six years, the conduct at issue was beyond any conceivable statute of limitations, the SEC invoked an internal controls standard of liability that does not even exist in the FCPA, the company agreed to pay $5.2 million in disgorgement even though the SEC did not allege or find any violations of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, and a fair read of the SEC’s allegations is that the parent company was a victim of subsidiary employee conduct.

In short, if I was with the law firm representing Juniper Networks in connection with this enforcement action, I certainly would not actively market my participation in this joke of an enforcement action and would most certainly not call it a “favorable” settlement for my client. Yet that is exactly what the law firm representing Juniper Networks did with this release [3].

As stated in the release:

“One of the key reasons why such a favorable resolution was reached was the extensive cooperation and remedial measures undertaken by the company under the direction of the Audit Committee, advised by [the law firm].

Numerous [firm] lawyers were involved in the matter, particularly in San Francisco, Washington and New York. [The release lists seven partners/counsel/senior associates involved in the matter].

“This is a great example of how the talented attorneys in offices across the firm came together to represent the interests of an important Silicon Valley client dealing with sensitive issues of global importance to the company,” said [the San Francisco] partner who represented the Audit Committee.”

Obviously, it is up to the client whether to resolve an SEC enforcement action and in this matter it appears that Juniper Networks rolled over and played dead. However, it is up to a law firm whether to proactively market its representation of a client in said enforcement action.

For the reasons stated above, I not sure why this law firm actively marketed the “favorable” Juniper Networks settlement.

Just saying …

[4]