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When the feds start investigating, there’s often a shake-up in the law department. Of the 15 companies that have reached a deferred prosecution agreement or nonprosecution agreement in the past 12 months, the GC stepped down at six.

Why the change in command? The answers vary. Former U.S. Attorney Lawrence Finder says that in his experience, prosecutors don’t usually blame the GC for a company’s transgressions. Finder co-authored a study, to be published this fall in the St. Louis University Law Journal, that analyzes the government’s policies on corporate indictments over the past 15 years. “I have seen [the Justice Department] say that your legal department is not doing a good enough job,” says Finder, now a partner at Baker Botts. “But I’ve never had an experience where [Justice] demands a shake-up in the legal department.”

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