Legal compliance has become an increasingly complex challenge for lawyers in corporate legal departments and in the private practice of law. While other areas of regulation may ebb and flow with changes in governmental policies and administration, legal compliance has tended to require more and more attention to increasingly detailed legal and regulatory requirements. Moreover, those requirements are being imposed not only by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries but by other countries whose criminal and regulatory laws are being applied to conduct that takes place outside their borders. As a consequence, law enforcement and regulatory agencies in those countries are setting progressively higher expectations about what lawyers need to do to identify, assess, and manage legal compliance risks. For example, in Saudi Arabia, laws and Royal Decrees in 2019 substantially expanded the definition of “public official” with regard to public-sector bribery, made private-sector bribery a crime, criminalized bid-rigging and other anti-competitive or corrupt practices in relation to public tenders, and substantially increased penalties for New Competition Law violations. Other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, also have laws and regulations that create substantial criminal and civil penalties for a wide range of compliance topics – including corruption, cybercrime and cybersecurity, fraud, money laundering, and sanctions. Those countries have successfully conducted investigations leading to substantial criminal and civil financial penalties in the hundreds of millions (even billions) of dollars as well as criminal prosecution. For these reasons, legal professionals need to have a comprehensive appreciation of the legal and regulatory environments in GCC and other countries that may affect their firms, as well as a detailed knowledge of the varied compliance risks that their firms are likely to face, and a clear understanding of how they need to manage those risks effectively through compliance programs and related measures.
- Partners and mid- and senior-level associates in law firms with practices that address legal compliance issues
- Senior and mid-level lawyers at headquarters and regional levels of firms with international operations