In January 2015 the Executive LL.M. office first began work with BU’s Digital Learning Initiative (DLI) at BU, Babak Boghraty (LAW ’89), and a team of dedicated law students on BU Law’s first ever version of a Massive Open Online Course. The end result was a professional MOOC called “Legal Risk Management Strategies for Multinational Enterprises“, offered by edX (formed by Harvard and MIT and in which Boston University is a charter member). The course is a self-paced and extensive examination of the core legal concepts underlying business compliance and corporate accountability, and provides tools for multinational actors and corporations to identify, analyze and mitigate compliance risks in various financial and commercial contexts. Compliance continues to be a dynamic and growing market, and nearly every week brings us examples of another corporation hit with multi-million or even multi-billion dollar liability for compliance-related violations. 2016 brought numerous culminations in enforcement actions by the U.S. Department of Justice and SEC, including resolutions involving Och-Ziff Capital Managment ($412 million), VimpelCom ($397.6 million), Teva Pharmaceuticals ($283 million), and JPMorgan Chase ($264.4 million). As such, it is clear the stakes are large, and the potential pitfalls related to non-compliance are enormous.
The course, designed to provide a wide-ranging foundation, is divided into four parts: Part I deals with the federal prosecution of business organizations, and examines concepts and doctrines such as imputed culpability, U.S. government sentencing guidelines for organizations, and the risk/reward structure of the compliance paradigm and how it is applied by the government. Part II’s content includes the federal oversight of corporate governance, including the accounting and anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the COSO Framework, and the relevance of the Sarbanes Oxley Act; as well as discussion of who and what is covered by the FCPA. Part III focuses on creating and monitoring an effective compliance program; while Part IV discusses the concept of a Responsible Business Enterprise (RBE), OECD Guidelines, and building an in-house ethics program. Registrants who successfully complete the course materials and score 70% or higher on the final multiple-choice examination, which consists of 235 questions, are eligible to receive a professional education certificate issued by edX on behalf of Boston University. Upon completing the course, a student reflected that the course “provided comprehensive coverage on the topic at hand and gave indications of how it could be applied in real life situations.” Another student remarked that it “deepened his understanding of the roots and scope of the FCPA” as well as of other crucial laws and legal regimes related to risk management.
In addition to providing crucial information on effective compliance programs — useful to practitioners just starting out in this field or seeking to tighten up their company’s governance and risk mitigation programs — this professional MOOC is also attractive to practitioners seeking Continuing Legal Education credit, as it has been approved for CLE credits in over 30 jurisdictions: Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. For a list of how many credits each eligible jurisdiction offers, please visit the website. In order to be accessible to students who are interested in potentially entering this career field, the MOOC is available at a 50% discount for students (see the course site for details).
Citing a lack of relevant text books in this field, in the interim Mr. Boghraty has also co-authored a book with Professor Tamar Frankel, Introduction to Organizational Compliance and Ethics, which is used as the coursebook for his course Introduction to Risk Management and Compliance taught at the School of Law since last year. BU Law’s commitment to the compliance field is also reflected in a growing compliance curriculum in both the Executive LLM in International Business Law (offering an all-online concentration in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance) and the Banking and Financial Law LLM (offering a concentration in Compliance Management).