UH Law Center touts one-of-a-kind database
The UH Law Center is collecting the codes of conduct of Fortune 500 corporations in a one-of-a-kind database.
Adjunct law professor Ryan McConnell led a study in 2011 that analyzed the codes of conduct of Fortune 500 companies.
McConnell graduated from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Mo., and teaches international corporate compliance and criminal procedure at the UH Law Center.
“The database is a collection of the Fortune 500 codes of conduct dating back to 2011 (and) allows users to sort the information by subject matter, company and industry,” McConnell said.
As the database was assembled, a shocking statistic was discovered. Sixteen percent — or about 80 — of the Fortune 500 companies did not address antitrust conduct in their codes of conduct. The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Department is looking closely for the potential risk of anticompetitive conduct from these companies.
McConnell and his students are continuing to build the database, which is expected to be available online by November 2013.
“It’s a one-stop shop for compliance code benchmarking – there is no other tool like this in existence,” McConnell said.
The compliance standards for these Fortune 500 codes of conduct are public information. However, the database will house them all in one place so the public has an easier way to access the data.
“Year after year, as the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal continues to update and expand the database, we will be able to observe trends in compliance standards and may be able to correlate those trends with the policies creating them,” said law junior Aaron Blair.
Blair, who will be earning his juris doctor in Spring 2014 and is the editor in chief of the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal, is one of the many students who have been working closely with McConnell in creating and collecting the database’s information.
The database can be used by anyone interested in studying compliance trends. Company counsels, risk and compliance officers and attorneys can also use it.
“The database will provide great opportunities for law students on the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal to get hands-on experience and network with attorneys in a burgeoning area of law,” Blair said.
The data can inform academic, legal and professional conversations on compliance issues.
“Attorneys drafting compliance standards can use it to help their clients. Professors and scholars can use the data in their research on compliance problems,” Blair said.
“Companies can compare and contrast their standards in order to create more comprehensive compliance regimes. Policymakers can observe the results of the laws they have enacted.”