General Priorities in the Yates Memorandum
- The Yates Memo prioritizes the manner in which Government civil and criminal law enforcement investigations are conducted.
- It begins by proclaiming that “One of the most effective ways to combat corporate misconduct is by seeking accountability from the individuals who perpetrated the wrongdoing . . .
- [accountability] it deters future illegal activity, incentives to changes in corporate behavior . . . and it promotes the public’s confidence in our justice system.”
The Yates Memo identifies six “key steps” to enable DOJ attorneys “to most effectively pursue the individuals responsible for corporate wrongs.”
- Corporations will be eligible for cooperation credit only if they provide DOJ with “all relevant facts” relating to all individuals responsible for misconduct, regardless of the level of seniority.
- Criminal and civil DOJ investigations should focus on investigating individuals “from the inception of the investigation.”
- Criminal and civil DOJ attorneys should be in “routine communication” with each other, including by criminal attorneys notifying civil counterparts “as early as permissible” when conduct giving rise to potential individual civil liability is discovered (and vice versa).
- Absent extraordinary circumstances, DOJ should not agree to a corporate resolution that provides immunity to potentially culpable individuals.
- DOJ should have a “clear plan” to resolve open investigations of individuals when the case against the corporation is resolved.
- Civil attorneys should focus on individuals as well, taking into account issues such as accountability and deterrence in addition to the ability to pay.