IBA launches report on the client’s perspective on anti-corruption compliance by legal professionals

In a report released yesterday, the findings of a global survey of in-house legal and compliance officers show how clients are becoming the main driving force raising the standards of anti-corruption compliance among legal professionals. The report, entitled, Anti-Corruption Compliance and the Legal Profession: The Client Perspective, waslaunched during the 2013 International Bar Association(IBA) Annual Conference, taking place in Boston, USA.

Speaking during the launch, Tim Dickinson, Co-Chair of the IBA Anti-Corruption Committee, said, ‘Lawyers need to realise that anti-corruption compliance is not only a regulatory requirement but also a demand and an expectation from clients. Legal practitioners, regardless of the size of their firm or their location, will need to understand the integrity frameworks their clients have designed and adapt their own compliance systems and integrity mechanisms accordingly. Law firms that fail to adjust to this business environment will face difficulties to comply with client requirements and compete in a world of companies with a greater appetite for clean and transparent business practices.’

The survey, conducted during the second quarter of 2013, captured the thoughts of more than 60 representatives from companies on five continents. It was motivated by the evident standard-setting role that clients are assuming before their external legal counsel.

Although external legal counsel are not generally classified as high risk intermediaries by the companies surveyed, respondents recognised that lawyers still pose relevant integrity risks that need to be addressed. More than 60 per cent of respondents show concern for the relationship legal professionals develop with the judiciary while a similar proportion extend this concern to a broader group of public authorities.

The IBA Survey also found that as a result of these risks, companies have extended stricter compliance practices used with other intermediaries to lawyers. As evidence of this trend, almost two-thirds of respondents reported an increase in pre-retention due diligence during the last five years, while almost half revealed an increase in monitoring due diligence during the same period of time.

This new Report is part of the Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession (Strategy), an initiative of the IBA, in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Regarding this new milestone for the Strategy, Michael Reynolds, President of the IBA, said ‘This new report confirms the IBA’s commitment to keep anti-corruption at the core of the work of the Association. Corruption is something which affects us all and the consequences can be significant. Through partnering with the OECD and UNODC we will continue to bear greater focus on the role of lawyers in tackling corruption in international business.’ He added, ‘Across the globe, a growing number of companies are realising that doing business with integrity is the only correct way to operate, and an ever-growing group of law firms, bar associations, governments and private sector actors are  supporting  our anti-corruption work. We are greatly encouraged by this.’

A new series of Strategy workshops and awareness raising activities based on this report will take place in Nigeria, Thailand and Vietnam between the end of October and the beginning of December. Next year the IBA plans to hold activities in the Middle East and Asia.

Click hereto download the report Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession: The client perspective.


Click here for other Strategy reports.



Notes for the editor

  • The 2013 International Bar Association(IBA) Annual Conference takes place 6–11 October 2013 at the John B Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center 900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.
  • The Conference is the largest yearly gathering of the world’s international lawyers. There are approximately 5,500 delegates from 134 countries attending the event. The Former United States Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, gave the keynote address at the Opening Ceremony on Sunday 6 October.

During this year’s week-long Conference a host of global issues will be discussed in the 222 working sessions covering all aspects of international law. Topics will include: the tension between privacy and free expression in social media, the media and criminality, tax abuses, sovereign debt, anti-corruption enforcement, illegal immigration, climate change justice, human trafficking, globalisation, access to justice for women, the BRICS economies, drones, corporate disasters, the shifting global energy landscape, and the challenges for human rights law 65 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


  • Click herefor the IBA website’s dedicated Conference pages 


  • Journalists are welcome to register for the IBA Annual Conference. The registration fee is waived. To register and for assistance with arranging interviews, please send an email to: romana.daniel@int-bar.org.


For further information please contact:

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
Press Office

International Bar Association

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About the International Bar Association

the global voice of the legal profession

The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Through its global membership of individual lawyers, law firms, bar associations and law societies it influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.

The IBA’s administrative office is in London. Regional offices are located in São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, United States of America, while the IBA’s International Criminal Court Programme is managed from an office in The Hague.

The IBA’s Human Rights Institute works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just Rule of Law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.