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Monday, July 02, 2018

Compliance

Many thanks to Howard for arranging to have me contribute as a guest blogger this month!    

A few months before I began my tenure-track position in 2014, I was nervous that my seemingly diverse research interests were going to create problems for me down the line.  I had interests in professional responsibility, corporate governance, workplace law, and organizational misconduct, which meant I did not feel like I “fit” neatly within a field of legal research. I knew that my research was all connected, but I felt like conveying that connection to others was sometimes a bit difficult.  Thankfully, I had a wonderful conversation with a senior scholar who said something to the effect of:  “You just research compliance.  It is kind of new, so people may not realize it, but that is what you are doing.”  These words were instantly clarifying and gratifying.  I suppose I knew I was researching compliance issues, but not having met many scholars who defined themselves in that way at that time, I did not realize it was legitimate to actually use the compliance title to describe my work. 

Today, compliance has developed into its own, albeit some might still say new, field.  There are several law schools with centers, programs, or areas of study in compliance.  The ALI is working on a set of Principles of the Law in Compliance, Enforcement, and Risk Management.  And there are a variety of compliance-specific conferences that I can attend.  Compliance is, however, an interdisciplinary field.  Some people writing in the space describe themselves as corporate law scholars, some as criminal law scholars, and there is quite a bit of very good work being done by business school professors.  Personally, while I self-identify as a compliance scholar, I do so with the caveat that I draw on research from several areas within legal scholarship and organizational behavior.  More specifically, the underlying research question that motivates my scholarship asks how one might address dysfunctions within organizations in an effort to create more productive, healthy, and ethical environments within firms.     

This month I’ll be blogging a bit about my compliance research, but also about the experience of working within a field that is (i) still emerging and (ii) interdisciplinary in scope.  For me this has been a really exciting endeavor, but it does have its own set of challenges to work through.  But for now, I will just wish you all an early Happy July 4th. 

Posted by Veronica Root on July 2, 2018 at 07:55 AM in Blogging, Corporate, Criminal Law | Permalink

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