Recognizing the In-House Counsel"s Role of "Compliance Generalist" as a Formal Practice Area of Law

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Recognizing the In-House Counsel"s Role of "Compliance Generalist" as a Formal Practice Area of Law

Bruce Ortwine, Joint General Manager and General Counsel, Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co, USA

For many years, a number of large law firms have offered highly specialized practice areas dealing with various compliance requirements in specific and discrete areas of the law. A few examples include tax, securities, anti-trust and, lately, anti-corruption. In recent years, in-house counsel have been required to respond to rapidly increasing legal and regulatory burdens imposed on their organizations and have become experts in a more generalized universe of compliance-related requirements. By developing and sustaining a comprehensive program of legal and ethical compliance standards they can better ensure that their organizations will satisfy their obligations to comply with all applicable laws and regulations; they also provide a viable defense to an organization if a rogue employee does not do so. The in-house counsel’s efforts as “compliance generalist” in all areas of the law that affect his or her organization are vital to the organization’s success, as much so as any other legal practice area, and they constitute an area of the legal practice that is and should be formally recognized and appreciated as such.

Bruce A. Ortwine is the Joint General Manager and General Counsel for the North American operations of The Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co., Ltd., one of the largest Japanese banks in the world. He is also a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Trust Committee, as well as the External General Counsel of, Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co., (U.S.A.), a New Jersey state chartered qualified bank and a major global custodian bank. He was worked at both banks since 1990. Before then, he worked at two different law firms in New York City, where he specialized in corporate, securities, banking, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions and entertainment law. He has published numerous articles, mostly in leading Japanese legal and financial publications, since the early 1990’s. He is admitted as an attorney in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is a member of numerous professional organizations.

The Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co., Ltd. is one of the largest of the Japanese banks with offices in more than 20 countries.

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