Program on Ethics, Compliance & Inclusion
Director: Veronica Root Martinez
Lawyers are constantly asked to advise their organizational clients when discriminatory, illegal, or inappropriate conduct is suspected or detected within their ranks. Lawyers are asked to investigate claims, provide advice on how to respond to alleged misconduct, and assist their clients in charting a way forward. The study of law often focuses on reactionary responses, but lawyers must also develop prospective strategies for their organizational clients so that dysfunctions within firms are properly deterred and prevented. The research focused on and supported by the Program on Ethics, Compliance & Inclusion will address these issues, so that Notre Dame Law students and alumni are equipped to counsel their clients in a sophisticated and effective manner.
Notre Dame Law School's Program on Ethics, Compliance & Inclusion provides opportunities for faculty, students, and alumni of the University of Notre Dame to research, investigate, and discuss scholarship that will support the creation of more ethical, compliant, and inclusive organizations.
The primary purpose of the program is to aid in efforts to restore the dignity of work within organizations, which is eroded when misconduct occurs. Today's populace spends the majority of their time in their workplaces. Indeed, many workers spend more time with their colleagues than their families. As a result, many individuals begin to develop a strong sense of identity that is inextricably tied to their work. This is true whether the person is employed as a janitor, a general counsel, or a chief executive officer.
For people to live full, happy, and productive lives, their workplaces, just like their homes, must be structured in ways that allow them to thrive. Over the past decade, however, instances of misconduct within organizations have revealed the devastating impacts a dysfunctional workplace can have on worker well-being. Whether it is a culture plagued with rampant sexual harassment or an institution that pressures its workers to engage in fraudulent behavior, when workers are not treated as whole beings with inherent dignity it diminishes their sense of self, their sense of worth, and their ability to engage in work with dignity and grace.
The Program on Ethics, Compliance & Inclusion supports research that critically examines significant instances of immoral behavior, misconduct, and discrimination within organizations for the purpose of producing tangible steps that organizations can take to prevent similar future behavior. The program brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines to analyze incidents of organizational misconduct and to develop strategies and solutions aimed at encouraging the creation of ethical, compliant, and inclusive workplace environments. By capitalizing on the expertise of scholars from diverse fields, the root cause of organizational misconduct will be more fully investigated and assessed, which will, hopefully, allow for the development of more effective recommendations and strategies for reform.
A key part of the Program on Ethics, Compliance & Inclusion are academic roundtables. These roundtables allows scholars from across the nation to come together to discuss issues related to inclusion, compliance, and ethics. Each roundtable focuses on a particular theme. Thus, each year brings together a new set of scholars to begin or continue scholarly conversations with one another. These roundtables are also open to interested students.
The Program on Ethics, Compliance & Inclusion hosts a lunchtime speaker series for students to hear from academics and practitioners working in the areas of inclusion, compliance, and ethics. The lunchtime series enables students to learn about compliance while connecting with University of Notre Dame alumni and others working in the areas of inclusion, compliance, and ethics.
Smith-Doheny Legal Ethics Writing Competition
The Program on Ethics, Compliance, & Inclusion oversees the Smith-Doheny Legal Ethics writing competition sponsored by Notre Dame Law School. Any current student at an American or Canadian law school may submit an essay (minimum of ten pages and maximum of fifty pages) on any legal ethics topic. Through the generosity of the Smith-Doheny family, each year an annual prize of $2,500 is awarded to the best essay. Please see law.nd.edu/smith-doheny for more information. The 2020 award winners have been announced. A full list of past winners is also available here.
Courses in Compliance
A number of courses offered at Notre Dame Law School can prepare you for a career in compliance. See a list of possible courses here.
Recent & Upcoming Events
- Academic Roundtable – October 24-25, 2019, at Notre Dame Law in Chicago