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risk management and compliance

Clients seek Conrad O'Brien's counsel on a broad range of compliance and risk management issues emanating from federal and state funding and procurement programs, interaction with state and federal officials, and other risk areas inherent in the interaction between public entities and the private sector. Our representations range from front-end risk management and compliance analyses; to development of compliance programs; to internal investigations; to the representation of clients in investigations by United States Attorneys’ Offices, federal and state administrative agencies, and state attorneys general.

Recent examples of Conrad O’Brien’s work in these areas include:

  • We develop and monitor internal programs to ensure compliance with competitive bidding and gift rule requirements under the federal E-rate (Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism) program, the largest source of technology funding for K-12 schools in the United States; responsibilities include providing compliance advice regarding marketing and sales activities and programs, planning and overseeing internal audits, employee and third party training, government reporting, and advocacy to regulators on unsettled legal issues.
  • On behalf of the Governor's Office of General Counsel, we conducted an extensive internal review of the Commonwealth's Day Care Licensing Program, which included historical analysis of the Department of Public Welfare's regulations and its own employees' and licensees' compliance with those regulations. This review resulted in a comprehensive set of recommendations for overhauling the program to enhance employee and licensee compliance and to minimize fraud.
  • We advise private companies on the effect and impact of ethics laws when doing business with public entities, particularly state and local officials, given that both state and local ethics laws often place limitations and exclusions on gifts to public officials and in some cases criminalize conflicts of interest.
  • We advise a finance company backed by a venture fund regarding litigation and compliance risks related to real estate financing transactions.
  • We advise education vendors and consultants on a broad range of compliance and litigation risks, often in connection with pending litigation involving our clients or related parties. Areas we cover include: 
    • Risk analysis arising from company operations including the nature and structure of contracts, and interaction with school employees and trustees who are considered public officials under various state and federal laws;
    • Recommendations for areas for compliance / best practices training, creation and ongoing updating of ethics and compliance programs;
    • State Attorney General audits of financial activities and contractual relationships;
    • Federal Office of Inspector General audits;
    • Special education / IDEA audits and disputes, and state and federal court litigation regarding those audits;
    • State Department of Education and school district audits of operations and procedures;
  • We have advised financial services companies regarding anti-money laundering issues, obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act, and related regulations.
  • A Conrad O’Brien partner served as legal liaison to the Regulatory Affairs Department and Food and Drug Administration on 510(k) processes and clinical trial compliance for Class 3 medical devices, and oversaw the product complaint process for product failure and product malfunction.
  • We conducted an internal investigation for a government defense contractor into allegations of irregularities and improprieties in the federal government contracting process. We provided a confidential and privileged report outlining proposed compliance changes, including the designation of a corporate compliance officer, drafting of a formal code of corporate conduct, and ethics training.
  • We conducted internal investigations for several charter schools related to allegations of the misappropriation and misuse of school funds, hostile work environment, cyber-bullying, and corporal punishment.
  • We advised an on-line curriculum and management company in connection with seeking competitive market information regarding a bid for a services contract.
  • We regularly advise private sector entities (including, recently, schools of a religious institution) that do business with public entities in connection with state or federal open records requests seeking those private entities’ records.