University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Spring 2022

Course Description
Course Mission and Rationale: Over the past decade, a series of corporate scandals have spanned a range of industries (including pharmaceutical, insurance, financial services, healthcare, and consumer products). These scandals have stemmed from ineffective internal controls corporate governance, and risk management. As a result, corporate criminal liability rules, sentencing guidelines, and settlement incentives have changed, emphasizing the importance of compliance programs, policies, and procedures. In response, corporations have buttressed their compliance and ethics programs—in some cases, hiring a chief compliance officer and undergoing reorganization to ensure that the compliance function is not only completely separate and independent from the legal function, but also has direct access to the corporation’s board of directors. A similar trend is beginning to emerge in law firms and other types of large non-­profit organizations (like universities and government entities such as the SEC). These transitions, along with the current regulatory environment and corporate structure, raise questions about the compliance function. What purpose does and should it serve? Should the compliance function be within or outside the purview of the legal department? Who should fill the role of chief compliance officer, to who should the chief compliance officer report, and what role should the chief compliance officer play? Compliance E-­lliance is an opportunity to explore these issues. This all-­virtual synchronous course will provide students with an overview of the current and evolving compliance landscape and emerging best practices both within the United States and Germany. Further, through in-­depth research projects, students will hone specialized knowledge in one compliance-­related topic while developing their teaming, investigative research, presentation, cultural competency, and technology skills. Course Overview: Compliance E-­lliance is a virtual course taught by Michele DeStefano and Hendrik Schneider (University of Leipzig) with added mentoring by David Abraham, Robert Rosen, Rick Williamson, and Kevin Grau (University of Leipzig). The course is held online in “real time” on Adobe Connect and meets 7 times over the course of 9 weeks (February 20th through April 24th). Students can attend the online sessions from any location as long as they have a strong internet connection. The first two sessions include tech training and a substantive overview of the compliance landscape in the U.S. and Germany. After this baseline, students from University of Leipzig are teamed up with students from Miami Law to research a topic related to compliance at large corporations, law firms, or non-­profit organizations. (Topic assignments are based in part on student preferences.) Our next session includes training on presentations and teaming. The remaining online sessions focus on key substantive areas of compliance with guest compliance officers from corporations, law firms, and non-­profit organizations. The final session involves a joint team presentation on their research, findings, ideas, and recommendations. Throughout the course, students will be required to complete deliverables, including submitting a weekly team journal, conducting four interviews of compliance professionals, and composing a project summary and analysis. They will be graded on their weekly journals, in-­class online participation, and their final team presentation. Attendance for all virtual sessions and teams' presentations is mandatory to pass the class.

Course Schedule

Course Frequency
Occasional course offering

Course Information

Credits: 2
Pass/Fail Option: No
Method of Evaluation: None; however, courses on professional responsibility, international law and regulation, and globalization are a plus.
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Special Attributes:
Course Delivery:

Special Restrictions: Enrollment by application only. Applicants will be required to submit a one-­page summary explaining why they want to take this course from a substantive, cultural, and technical standpoint, and detail any compliance experience they have. Please email with further questions.
Law Track(s):
Business & Taxation - Related
International & Comparative Law - Related
Bar Subject(s):
Business Compliance and Sustainability (Area of Focus)   More information
Business Compliance and Sustainability (Concentration)   More information
The Business of Innovation, Law and Technology: BILT (Concentration)   More information
Course Book(s): TBD/None      
First Class Assignment(s): TBD/None



Contact Information:
Phone: 305-284-2411