Indictments and resignations following an internal investigation are not necessarily surprising. In the case of the Hewlett-Packard investigation, however, it’s the investigators who are in dire straits. In the months since HP publicly announced that it had conducted an internal investigation into news leaks by corporate directors, its chairman and general counsel have resigned, criminal charges have been filed against those involved in the investigation and one person has pled guilty.

HP exemplifies the pitfalls and problems that can result from an internal investigation itself, for both the company and its counsel. As one congressman asked: “Where were the lawyers? There were red flags waving all over the place,” but “none of the lawyers stepped up to their responsibilities.” “Hewlett-Packard’s Pretexting Scandal Before the H. Subcomm. on Oversight and Investigations,” 109th Cong. (2006) (statement of Rep. John D. Dingell).

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