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Boston University School of Law




The rise of Compliance officers (COs) has raised questions about their status in institutions and comparisons to the Legal Officers (CLOs). While both officers deal with law and its enforcement, their functions and positions differ in fundamental ways. And while LOs position is recognized, the status of COs is evolving. However, these differences are slowly becoming clearer.

1. While the LO’s function is to provide legal advice to the institutional client, the CO’s function is to (i) evaluate the institution’s activities before violations take place and (ii) help prevent violations of the law by the institution. The CO should detect and help prevent institutional violations, avoiding the need to defend the client. Therefore, COs and LOs might focus on different issues and provide different advice to clients.

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