In the January / February 2019 issue of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Section Review, CMBG3’s Suzanne Englot write on the issue of an attorney’s role as not only a problem solver, but also one who can help spot problems before they arise, thereby preventing costly litigation or fines for companies.
As Ms. Englot writes, it is often not a person’s or company’s first instinct to consider consulting an attorney in a role as a compliance officer; however, it is precisely that role for which attorney’s are uniquely equipped. “[Attorneys] can interpret the laws that are already enacted, as well as ones that have yet to take effect; determine which ones are applicable to our clients; and make suggestions that will ensure that they will not encounter any legal issues down the road. This preemptive service is particularly useful for companies, big and small, who are struggling to keep on top of their many regulatory obligations.”
Ms. Englot provides the concrete example of a recent OSHA regulation on the sort of equipment that must be in place to protect employees who walk and/or work at heights from injury due to falls. “Most of the regulations were already in place by the end of 2017, but a shrewd legal eye would note that a couple of the provisions concerning ladders above 24 feet became effective on Nov. 19, 2018. A slow rollout of regulatory provisions like this, which address an area of work safety that leads to a lot of injuries, could result in serious issues for a company that is not devoting resources to identifying exactly this type of liability….An attorney consulted on compliance issues could not only have helped put systems in place to try to prevent that injury, but could also then prepare a strong defense, based on firsthand knowledge, that their client controlled the controllables and established a program that would pass muster by the standards set forth in the relevant regulations.”
CMBG3’s attorneys, especially Suzanne Englot, specialize in environmental compliance and litigation matters, and can provide assistance and advice to anyone involved in litigation of an environmental claim, or to anyone who wishes to best protect themselves from such a claim. For more information, please contact Suzanne Englot (email her or call 617-279-8242).