For the Real Impact of the Yates Memo, Look to the Heartland

December 3, 2015

Internal and government investigations are about to get personal. The U.S. Department of Justice, through Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, recently issued guidance to all federal prosecutors making it clear that prosecuting corporate fraud, and prosecuting responsible individuals, is a top priority for new Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Analysis of the Yates Memo to date has focused primarily on the impact it will have in U.S. attorney’s offices that historically have handled the largest white collar cases, leading many to conclude that it is really much ado about nothing, and it is just business as usual. What has been missed, however, is the significant impact it will have on companies located outside New York and California. In this article by two former U.S. attorneys who served with Sally Yates and Loretta Lynch, we focus on the memo’s disproportionate impact on prosecutions brought in midsize and small districts, and discuss what that means for companies and business executives located in America’s heartland.

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