Keeping up with the law

Yesterday I received a letter from a young man who’d just been transferred to the compliance department asking the age-old question, “How can I possibly keep up with the law?” 

At first glance, it seems an insurmountable task to keep up with the law and changing regulations.  Depending on the sector and number of countries in which the business operates, compliance officers may be responsible for laws promulgated by hundreds of different regulators. 

How can any person be able to create a program to respond to laws in multiple jurisdictions?  Here are five suggestions to get you started.

1.      Law Firm Client Alerts and Compliance Consulting Firm Publications

Many law firms and compliance-related consulting firms publish free email alerts for their clients and prospective clients.  To sign up, first ask your legal department which law firms and consulting groups they currently use or ask your network for the best firms in your area.  Call them and ask to be put on their email list for alerts related to the areas you handle. 

2.      Following Thought Leaders on LinkedIn

Follow compliance thought-leaders on LinkedIn to get great advice and to find additional resources.  Many thought-leaders share enlightening articles they find as well as their own material, which can substantially help in pinpointing useful and well-written articles and advice.

3.      Industry Blogs

Industry blogs about compliance issues abound.  Some are focused on one specific area of law, like the FCPA or data privacy laws, which others are more broadly based.  Find one or two blogs to subscribe to, and check them on a daily or weekly basis to be well versed in upcoming regulations.

4.      Google Alerts

Set up a Google Alert for any draft law that you hear about which might affect your business, or for your area of business combined with the word “law,” “legislation” or “regulation.”  Keep adjusting the wording on your Google Alert until you find one which filters down to articles which are useful for you.

5.      Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics Emails and Conferences

The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics has email alerts, blog posts and conference sessions which highlight upcoming changes in the law. 

By investing time reviewing the resources available to you, you’ll be able to stay up-to-date and pro-actively plan to meet the challenges required by the law.

Kristy Grant-Hart the author of the book “How to be a Wildly Effective Compliance Officer”and CEO of Spark Compliance Consulting;; @KristyGrantHart,