Since the FCPA Blog published my series on IKEA’s charitable contributions in Russia, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback, both directly and indirectly. That is incredibly flattering, and I want to thank everyone for taking that all-important first step: reading what I wrote.
When it comes to rooting out (potential) compliance violations, however, having a readership is but a small component. Let’s look at the confluence of events that led up to the IKEA series. Someone who is (1) familiar with the FCPA and (2) fluent in Russian had to have a reason to (3) read Lennart Dahlgren’s memoir, (4) realize the potential role of the FCPA, and (5) write the blog entries. Subsequently, that person (6) had to gain the backing of a reputable source like the FCPA Blog.
Independently, these are all relatively commonplace occurrences, but combined, the probability of bringing something similar to the public’s attention shrinks. If we assume that the IKEA series is a good thing, then we should strive to increase the likelihood that something similar gets published again. We can do so by heeding the FCPA Blog’s call to ramp up compliance-related curricula in law schools.
The IKEA series is a direct result of these types of efforts, and I would especially like to thank Andy Spalding, who has taught me pretty much everything I know about the FCPA. I can say with a high level of certainty that without Professor Spalding storming into the University of Richmond shouting “anti-bribery law!” at every opportunity, I would not have written the series.
From the time I first met Professor Spalding in the fall of 2011, I have felt inspired to delve further into the FCPA. This has included several courses in which the FCPA became the focal point. The constant academic reinforcement thoroughly ingrained the FCPA in my conscience, and I am now a better attorney because of it. I am happy that many other law schools are taking a similar approach.
Still, more can be done, and I’ll make one extra suggestion. Law schools should promote the possibility of their students becoming certified fraud examiners. Though not as known in lawyer circles, the CFE credential is highly regarded in the compliance field. There is no better time to begin the process than law school. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners offers significant discounts to students. Law schools fund all sorts of student interests, and they can subsidize the costs even further.
Because many law students have prior relevant experience, some of them can become CFEs immediately upon passage of the CFE Exam. Those who don’t have the requisite experience still find themselves in an advantageous position. Knocking out the CFE Exam in law school can broaden opportunities for graduates. In turn, these students will be even more equipped to continue promoting compliance.
Ilya Zlatkin is a Chicago attorney focusing on business planning, intellectual property, and international entrepreneurship. Having passed the CFE exam, he is on track to become a Certified Fraud Examiner in early 2015. He can be contacted here.