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Professor Miriam Baer Discusses Developments in Compliance on Podcasts, Blogs


Professor Miriam Baer recently appeared on the Business Scholarship Podcast to discuss her latest paper on the emergence of a legal elite in the field of corporate compliance. The podcast is part of a long run of appearances this month by Baer in numerous outlets, where she has provided her insights on corporate crime, compliance, and current events.

On the podcast, hosted by Andrew Jennings of Stanford Law School, Baer discusses her recently published article, “Compliance Elites,” 88 Fordham Law Review 1599 (2020), which Baer presented at Fordham’s 2019 Stein Colloquium on Corporate Lawyering. In the article, Baer evaluates the tendency of firms to hire “elite” chief compliance officers who have enjoyed successful prior careers in private law firms and government enforcement agencies. Although this practice is valuable insofar as it signals a firm’s commitment to build up its compliance function, Baer considers the risk that elite compliance officers, due to their status and history of strong personal performance, may suffer “performance blind spots” that could reduce their ability to detect and assess fraud or other misconduct. Baer closes the paper with practical suggestions on how legal elites can best address and mediate their blind spots.

Baer summarized that article as well as a recent book chapter she authored for the Cambridge Handbook on Compliance, “Designing Corporate Leniency Programs,” in essays posted on Columbia Law School’s Blue Sky Blog and New York University School of Law’s Compliance and Enforcement blog. Her book chapter contrasts two corporate leniency programs that were announced by the Department of Justice around the time period; whereas one of those programs flourished, the other is barely mentioned and has all but disappeared. Baer examines these contrasting programs to identify the design elements that make some programs more successful than others.

Despite the cancellation of large gatherings due to the COVID-19 crisis, Baer has maintained a busy public speaking schedule. Last month, she gave a webinar on criminal liability and the Purdue Pharma litigation for DePaul Law School’s Clifford Symposium on Tort Law and Social Policy (organized by former visiting professor Stephan Landsman). The topic of the Symposium was the legal and public health implications of the opioid crisis, and Baer’s paper focused on the criminal aspects of the Purdue Pharma case.

This month, Baer presents a new paper, which is forthcoming in the Minnesota Law Review, at the National Business Law Scholars Conference, hosted online by the University of Tennessee College of Law. Baer’s piece discusses constitutional criminal procedure’s relationship with corporate and regulatory enforcement.

Earlier in May, Baer was heavily quoted on developments in two high-profile federal fraud cases. In Vox, she weighed in on the Michael Flynn/Russia investigation. In the New York Post, she elaborated on the tangential repercussions of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the “Bridgegate” case on the ongoing prosecution of Mossimo Giannulli and Lori Loughlin as part of the “Varsity Blues” investigation.

At the Law School, Baer is associate director of the Center for the Study of Business Law and Regulation and teaches in the areas of corporate law, white collar crime, criminal law, and criminal procedure. She has been a frequent commentator on legal issues related to the Mueller investigation and other high-profile matters.

Read Baer’s scholarship here and here

Listen to the podcast

Read the two blog posts at Columbia Law School’s Blue Sky Blog and Compliance and Enforcement

Read the articles in Vox and the New York Post