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ACC NYC Hosts Annual Compliance Institute

Photo: The ACC NYC Chapter Board at the 2019 Compliance Institute.


The ACC New York City Chapter welcomed over 150 members and guests to its annual Compliance Institute. The event featured a compelling keynote presentation followed by three CLE programs from sponsors addressing a range of compliance topics. Hosted at Fordham University School of Law, the ACC NYC Chapter invited Fordham faculty and law students interested in careers in compliance to attend the event. In addition, the chapter conducted its annual meeting during the program.

The afternoon opened with a dynamic keynote discussion between Connie Collingsworth, chief operating officer and former general counsel of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Michele Coleman Mayes, vice president, general counsel, and secretary, New York Public Library. Collingsworth touched on challenges and legal issues that she faces while working with organizations around the world to achieve the Gates Foundation’s mission.

Collingsworth noted the changing legal skillsets the Gates Foundation needs as it launches new initiatives and expands its reach into regions outside the United States. Collingsworth shared a fascinating story about insisting on exercising its financial audit right despite its partners’ resistance to root out potential corruption and diversion of funds to illegitimate purposes.

Following the keynote, the chapter welcomed Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for a lively discussion of “Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls During Internal Investigations.” The presentation was an interactive one with the attendees voting on several survey questions. With the audience divided on some of the polling questions, the results demonstrated that the next step in an internal investigation is not always clear. In-house counsel need to be prepared to pivot in internal investigations as new evidence comes to light and new perspectives are revealed.


Conference room full of lawyers listening to a speaker.

Photo: Attendees wait for the ACC NYC 2019 Compliance Institute and annual meeting to begin.


Jenner & Block took the stage next to discuss “The Basics of an Anti-money Laundering (AML) Compliance Program: Practical Tips and Common Pitfalls to Avoid.” With multiple regulators focused on anti-money laundering, each with their own oversight and authority, the panelists emphasized the importance of creating a risk-based program that is subject to regular independent audits and consistent employee training. The key takeaway for in-house attorneys is that they must understand the products and services that their companies are selling in order to create an effective AML program.

Mintz Levin presented the final program on “Inaccessible Websites: Risks, Remediation, and Defense Strategies.” Website inaccessibility law is rapidly evolving with recent decisions coming out of New York and California. Citing an active plaintiffs’ bar in this space, the panelists warned that risks of noncompliance are significant. However, by advising their companies to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, in-house counsel can help ensure our companies’ web presence is accessible to all visitors.

During the event, the chapter conducted its annual meeting, electing a slate of directors and officers. ACC NYC members received the annual report, and the chapter concluded other business necessary for the year. Following the event, the attendees had an opportunity to network while enjoying delicious refreshments.

ACC NYC thanks its sponsors and Fordham Law School and looks forward to another successful Compliance Institute next year.

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