Conflicts of Interest

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Conflicts of Interest

By Rebecca Walker, Esq.[1]

Conflicts of interest are present in all areas of the business and professional world. They are difficult to regulate, difficult to mitigate, and can create enormous harm for organizations (although they can also, in some instances, be without cost). The complicated nature of this area emanates from several factors. First, conflicts arise in myriad ways and contexts, and there is an enormous scope of activity that is prone to conflicts. Second, there is no uniform law of conflicts of interest. Instead, the manner in which conflicts are regulated tends to be determined largely by the specific context in which the conflict arises. Third, conflicts tend to arise in highly personal contexts, which makes them difficult to identify and even harder to regulate.

What follows is a discussion of conflicts of interest, including:

  • How conflicts of interest are defined;

  • What constitutes an interest for conflicts purposes;

  • The harm caused by conflicts of interest;

  • Legal guidance on dealing with conflicts of interest; and

  • Conflicts of interest compliance programs.

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