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Accountants' Liability | CLE course online & in DC. Top SEC speakers.
Accountants' Liability: Managing Risks in A Changing Environment
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Available Online: | Coursebook

ALI CLE would like to thank our sponsors:

Morvillo LLP
Why You Should Attend


Get insights on enforcement and compliance initiatives from top officials at the SEC and PCAOB including:

Andrew Ceresney, Co-Director of Enforcement, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Claudius Modesti, Director of Enforcement, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board

And just added to the program: David Woodcock, Regional Director; Chairman, Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission


This era of economic uncertainty and change has reshaped the environment in which the accounting profession operates. As the economy recovers, the profession is facing:

A public call for “cultural change” in the auditing profession by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s chair.

Efforts in the private company sphere to establish a separate set of accounting standards for non-publicly traded companies.

Misgivings about U.S. regulators’ commitment to harmonizing U.S. public company reporting standards with those used in other countries – and their commitment to simplify accounting standards for non-public businesses.

The volatile landscape of litigation against accountants and the question as to whether accounting professionals are legally expected to investigate and detect financial fraud.


These recent developments in the world of accounting are only a small sample of the emerging topics that will be covered in ALI CLE’s popular Accountants’ Liability program. This annual course of study taught by esteemed practitioners, as well as officials from the SEC and PCAOB, offers a wide range of perspectives on the changing principles that govern the field of accountants’ liability. Register today so that you can stay up to date in your practice and enjoy ample opportunities to network with fellow practitioners and preeminent faculty.

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What You Will Learn

Experts from across the country will present on a variety of topics including:

practical and tactical challenges in the intersection between regulatory and civil proceedings

issues that frequently arise in the independence arena, the regulators’ response, and recommended preventive strategies

developments in the convergence of accounting standards for public companies and the divergence of standards for private companies.

current SEC and PCAOB enforcement initiatives

issues faced by international accounting firms

representing a small accounting firm

substantive defense strategies in SEC and PCAOB proceedings

litigating a liability case

perspectives from both sides of the bar

best strategies for establishing the theory of your case

establishing (and defending against) damages

preparing an expert accounting or auditing witness

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Planning Chairs

John H. Eickemeyer, Vedder Price P.C., New York

Veronica E. Rendón, Arnold & Porter LLP, New York



Andrew Ceresney, Co-Director of Enforcement, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C.

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Steven R. Berger, Vedder Price P.C., New York

Jon Block, Director - Public Policy and Senior Counsel, Grant Thornton International Ltd., Washington, D.C.

Lynda S. Borucki, The Brattle Group, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sarah L. Cave, Hughes, Hubbard & Reed LLP, New York

Mark L. Cheffers, Ives Group, Inc., Sutton, Massachusetts

Ann M. Cook, King & Spalding LLP, New York

Christopher Cutler, Foley & Lardner LLP, Tampa,FL

Jarett  Decker, Deputy Director & Chief Trial Counsel, Division of Enforcement and Investigations, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, Washington, D.C.

Sanford P. Dumain, Milberg LLP, New York

Michael Eisenkraft, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, New York

Ronald S. Herzog, LeClair Ryan, New York

Robert B. Hubbell, Morrison & Foerster LLP, Los Angeles

Caryn L. Jacobs, Winston & Strawn LLP, Chicago, IL

Annica H. Jin-Hendel, Assistant General Counsel, Deloitte LLP

Marion E. Koenigs, Deputy Director, Division of Enforcement and Investigations, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, Washington, D.C.

Robert J. Kueppers, Vice Chairman, Deloitte & Touche USA, LLP, New York

Vincent J. Love, VJL Consulting, New York

William Mann, General Counsel, Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., Leawood, Kansas

Luis R. Mejia, DLA Piper LLP, Washington, D.C., former Chief Litigation Counsel, Division of Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commission

Christian J. Mixter, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Washington, D.C.; former Chief Litigation Counsel, Division of Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commission

Claudius Modesti, Director of Enforcement, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, Washington, D.C.

Andrew J. Morris, Morvillo LLP, Washington, D.C.

Elissa J. Preheim, Arnold & Porter LLP, Washington, D.C.

Thomas L. Riesenberg, Consultant, Ernst & Young LLP, Washington, D.C.

Jonathan Roberts, Ernst & Young Global, London, England

Amelia T. Rudolph, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, Atlanta, GA

Miles N. Ruthberg, Latham & Watkins LLP, New York

Scott B. Schreiber, Arnold & Porter LLP, Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth V. Tanis, King & Spalding, Atlanta, GA

Scott M. Univer, General Counsel, WeiserMazars LLP, New York

David Woodcock, Regional Director; Chairman, Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force,  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Fort Worth, Texas

Charles Wright, Senior Legal and Policy Advisor of the Division of Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C.

Junaid Zubairi, Vedder Price P.C., Chicago, IL


ALI CLE Program Attorney: Jaimee Taibi (

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Program Schedule


7:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:25 a.m. Welcome and Announcements – ALI CLE Staff


Webcast Segment A

8:30 a.m. Introductory Remarks - Mr. Eickemeyer

8:45 a.m. Current Developments and Course Overview - Mr. Eickemeyer 

Emerging economic forces, ever-changing regulations and standards, technological developments and the persistent threat of ruinous legal liability continue to shape the practice of accounting and the risks facing the profession. This session will address the effects of these forces on the profession and its liability risks, including discussion of case law trends, U.S. and international regulatory initiatives, and the continuing controversies over accounting standards, which cut across both nations and industries.

9:15 a.m.   Keynote Address - Mr. Ceresney

10:00 a.m. Intersection of Regulatory and Civil Proceedings – Mss. Jacobs and Rendón and Mr. Morris

This panel explores the intersection between regulatory and civil proceedings, which raises significant practical and tactical challenges. Plaintiffs in civil litigation often seek information about PCAOB inspections and agency investigations in order to provide fodder for their civil litigation. For example, accounting firms may generate internal, self-critical materials during inspections and investigations that, if produced, adversaries will seek to use against them. This panel explores these issues, the pitfalls to be aware of and potential approaches for handling the important but sometimes conflicting strategies inherent in defending against related regulatory and civil proceedings.

10:45 a.m. Networking and Refreshment Break

11:00 a.m. Independence Issues – Mr. Hubbell

Independence is a core concept in any audit and is always a hot topic for regulators and litigants. This segment explores the issues that frequently arise in the independence arena, the regulators’ response, recommended preventive strategies, new AICPA standards, as well as the PCAOB and SEC standards applicable to public companies.

11:30 a.m. Auditing and Accounting Issues and Substantive Defense Strategies in SEC and PCAOB Proceedings – Messrs. Cutler, Schreiber, Wright and Mss. Jin-Hendel and Koenigs

Representing an accountant, and understanding the regulator’s focus, in an SEC or PCAOB investigation calls for different skills and tactics than private litigation, in part because your adversary can also be the judge and jury. Practitioners, SEC and PCAOB personnel discuss key substantive accounting and auditing issues likely to dominate enforcement proceedings, initiatives and investigations this year. The faculty will also analyze effective defense and negotiation strategies, as well as trial considerations.

12:30 p.m. Lunch Break


Webcast Segment B

Litigating an Accountants’ Liability Case: Hear from Plaintiff and Defense Counsel

Panels composed of experienced plaintiffs’ attorneys and defense counsel will offer practical advice on the unique issues involved in litigating an accountants’ liability case, including motion practice; discovery strategies; electronic discovery issues; development of trial themes; experts; motions in limine; witness selection and preparation; presenting accounting and financial issues to the jury and holding its interest; use of technology; and opening statements and summation.

1:45 p.m. Plaintiffs’ Panel – Messrs. Dumain and Eisenkraft

2:30 p.m. Defense Panel – Mss. Cave and Rendón and Mr. Hubbell

3:30 p.m. Networking and Refreshment Break

3:45 p.m. Standards Panel: Public, Private, and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) – Messrs. Eickemeyer and Love

This segment will explore developments regarding the current evolution in accounting standards, with an emphasis on the current efforts to create alternative standards for privately-held entities, and will analyze the risk implications facing the profession. The panel will also address the state of perceptions among the public, the judiciary and the profession concerning the scope of an auditor’s obligations and the meaning of widely-used accounting concepts, and how these perceptions may impact case outcome or strategies.

4:30 p.m. Damages and Causation – Mss. Borucki and Rudolph

An otherwise strong case can still end badly without well-founded and clearly articulated theories of causation and damages. Conversely, the most effective defense is often a demonstration of the lack of proximate cause or damages with strong factual or statistical foundation. This session will discuss the latest case law developments regarding these critical issues and the economic underpinnings of many causation and damages theories and defenses.

5:15 p.m. Preparing the Accounting and Auditing Expert Witness –Mss. Cook and Tanis

Expert witnesses are a critical component of any accountants’ liability case that goes to trial, and even of the many that do not. This segment will discuss recent case law developments concerning experts and provide practical tips on selecting the right kind of expert for your case and working with the expert to develop a presentation that will be both understandable and compelling to the jury.

6:00 p.m. Adjournment for the Day; Networking Reception for Registrants and Faculty, sponsored by FTI Consulting, Inc.



7:30 a.m. Networking Session and Continental Breakfast

Webcast Segment C

8:00 a.m. In-House Counsel Speak – Messrs. Mann and Riesenberg

Client demands, budgetary constraints, and regulatory changes have all brought new challenges for accounting firms – and for their in-house counsel. This segment will feature counsel from national and regional firms, who will provide their perspectives on the key legal issues they address on a daily, real-time basis, and on the difficulties of meeting client expectations while protecting their firms’ interests.

8:45 a.m. SEC and the Profession – Messrs. Mejia, Mixter, Woodcock, and Zubairi and Ms. Rendón

The SEC’s enforcement docket on accounting matters continues to be heavy. Current enforcement initiatives and trends will be discussed.

9:45 a.m. Developments on the Horizon - Messrs. Cheffers and Kueppers

Analysis of audit-based litigation trends can offer guidance on future risks and how they may be avoided. This crucial segment will examine recent data on case filings, restatements, settlements and other developments of interest to both plaintiff and defense counsel. The implications of this data for accounting profession, regulators, standards-setters and counsel will all be considered.

10:30 a.m. Networking and Refreshment Break

10:45 a.m. The PCAOB's Perspective – Messrs. Decker and Modesti and Ms. Preheim

A member of the PCAOB and its director of enforcement address the latest developments in the PCAOB’s inspection and enforcement efforts with respect to both domestic and foreign audits and auditors.

11:45 a.m. Regulatory and Litigation Developments Facing International Accounting Firms – Messrs. Block, Roberts, Ruthberg, and Schreiber

International accounting firms continue to face significant challenges in the United States both from U.S and Non U.S. regulators and plaintiffs. This panel of in house and external lawyers will address some of these issues and the unique aspects of working with international firms navigating the domestic and international environment.

12:45 p.m. Lunch Break


Webcast Segment D

2:00 p.m. Practice Problems –Mr. Univer

Several recurrent practice problems can generate liability exposure and must be appropriately managed. They often arise in a tense crisis atmosphere and must be addressed quickly. This session will discuss strategies and solutions for these situations.

2:30 p.m. Issues Facing Smaller Accounting Firms — Messrs. Eickemeyer and Herzog

As some privately-held companies and their accountants press for alternatives to GAAP, the smaller accounting firms who service them will be faced with the challenge of adapting to new standards that may exist alongside traditional GAAP. This segment will explore the particular liability risks this evolving situation poses for smaller firms and how those risks can be mitigated. This segment will also provide updates on case law of particular importance to counsel who regularly litigate cases involving smaller firms.

3:15 Networking and Refreshment Break

3:30 p.m. Ethical Considerations – Mr. Berger

One of the first steps in counseling a client facing litigation or investigation is addressing the client’s ESI. This segment will focus on evolving technical standards in cloud data storage, its relation to ESI management for accountant clients, and will highlight special issues raised by new electronic devices. Together, these technological advancements raise formidable challenges to our ethical obligations regarding preservation, confidentiality, candor toward the tribunal, and more. Other developments on ethical issues that arise frequently in accounting litigation will also be addressed. This lively presentation will help you avoid the ethical landmines of tomorrow.

4:30 p.m. Adjournment

Total 60-minute hours of instruction: 14.25, including 1 hour of ethics
Total 50 minute hours of instruction: 17.1, including 1.2 hours of ethics

Suggested Prerequisite: Experience in practice in subject matter.

Educational Objective: Acquisition of knowledge and skills to develop proficiency as a practitioner; maintenance of professional competence as a practitioner.

Level of Instruction: Intermediate

Click Here for MCLE Credit Information

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Here's what registrants have said about this course:


"Very strong conference. Great speakers on diversified topics.” 

“Excellent content and format. As a lawyer who does both civil and enforcement work, I find the mix helpful.”

“Very Strong Conference. Great Speakers on Diversified Topics.”

“Excellent content & format”

"Still, I find this course to be both interesting, informative, and generally relevant to my practice." 

"Excellent course!" 


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