Accountants' Liability 2014: Confronting Enforcement and Litigation Risks - CLE, Continuing Legal Education - ALI
Accountants' Liability 2014: Confronting Enforcement and Litigation Risks
  • 26th Annual ALI CLE Course of Study
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Available Online: Online CLE | MP3 Audio Files | Coursebook

ALI CLE would like to thank our sponsors:




Why You Should Attend


The post-recession economic landscape and the emergence of new business and financial centers around the globe continue to confront the accounting profession with new challenges:

a renewed emphasis by the Securities and Exchange Commission on accounting fraud through the formation of a dedicated working group and the employment of new, data driven tools to ferret out signs of fraudulent financial reporting

a proposal for major revisions to the decades-old form of auditors’ report for publicly-traded companies that would detail the handling of critical issues arising in the course of the audit

the emergence of simplified financial reporting of certain transactions for small and medium-sized privately-held companies

continuing issues with financial reporting by foreign entities and regulatory actions against auditors of companies located in countries that restrict access to auditor work papers

an enduring focus by the regulators on auditor independence, including in connection with the performance of non-audit services

post-recession litigation against accountants and the persistence of the popular perception that fraud detection is part and parcel of an auditor’s engagement


This year’s presentation of ALI CLE’s popular Accountants’ Liability program will explore all of these, and other, critical areas and will feature a keynote address from Barry C. Melancon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.


This annual course of study taught by esteemed practitioners, General Counsel of an array of accounting firms, as well as officials from the SEC and PCAOB, offers a wide range of perspectives on the changing laws, principles, and attitudes that shape 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.



Program registration is close to capacity and it has confirmed attendance from major accounting firms, on both its panels and in the audience, including:

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP






Deloitte LLP


Marcum LLP


Crowe Horwath LLP


Grant Thornton LLP


Ernst & Young LLP


Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.


McGladrey LLP




WeiserMazars LLP

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What You Will Learn


Our nationally recognized faculty will present many of our enduring topics such as working with experts, unique considerations for international and small accounting firms, future industry trends, and strategies for managing SEC and PCAOB proceedings. New discussions will be woven in as well including:

recent activity by regulators concerning auditor independence, and strategies that can mitigate the risk of enforcement action

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

new SEC and PCAOB enforcement initiatives

the future of securities class actions against accounting firms in the wake of Halliburton and related decisions

the SEC’s whistleblower program and its implications for accounting firms

data security in the accounting industry: identifying and minimizing risks strategies for litigating a liability case--perspectives from both sides of the bar

privilege, internal investigations, and employee discipline: the ethical trifecta

important insights from in-house counsel and the chief legal officers of industry leaders



ALI CLE is also pleased to announce another new feature for this program.  ALI CLE is extending a customer appreciation offering to its loyal attendees from the accounting industry at its annual Accountants' Liability program.  We are offering 20 complimentary registrations to accounting professionals with accounting firms.  These registrations will be filled on a first come basis and will be limited to two per company.  Attendees interested in this promotion should contact Jaimee Taibi of ALI CLE at and reference code: ACCLIAJT.  This is offer applies only to new registrations and cannot be combined with other offerings.



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Planning Chairs

John Eickemeyer, Vedder Price PC, New York

Veronica Rendón, Arnold & Porter LLP, New York


Barry C. Melancon, President and CEO, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), New York, NY

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Kyra C. Armstrong, Deputy Director, Division of Enforcement and Investigations, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, Washington, D.C.

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

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

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

Mark L. Cheffers, CEO, IVES Group, Inc., Sutton, Massachusetts

Linda T. Coberly, Winston & Strawn LLP, Chicago

Christopher M. Cutler, Foley & Lardner  LLP, Washington, D.C.

Drew D. Dropkin, King & Spalding, Atlanta

Sanford P. Dumain, Milberg LLP, New York

Elaine Harwood, Vice President, Cornerstone Research, Los Angeles

Ronald Hauben, Vice Chair and General Counsel, Ernst & Young LLP, New York

Ronald S. Herzog, LeClair Ryan P.C., New York

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

Michael Husich, Associate Chief Accountant at the Office of Chief Accountant, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C.

Stephen Keeley, Crowe Horwath LLP, Chicago

Allan W. Kleidon, Senior Vice President, Cornerstone Research, Menlo Park, CA

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

Robert J. Kueppers, Senior Partner, Deloitte LLP, New York

Vincent J. Love, VJL Consulting LLC, New York

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

Luis R. Mejia,  Perkins Coie LLP, Washington, D.C.

Richard L. Miller, Jr., General Counsel, McGladrey LLP, Chicago

Christian J. Mixter, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Washington, D.C.

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

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

Lucas Olts, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, San Diego

Greg Osinoff, Navigant Consulting (PI) LLP, New York

Elizabeth Papez, Winston & Strawn LLP, Washington, D.C.

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

Jessica B. Pulliam, Baker Botts LLP, Dallas

Jonathan A. Roberts, Senior Global Legal Counsel, Ernst & Young Global Limited, England

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

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

Mark E. Schreiber, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, Boston

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

Christopher (Chris) Shearer, Associate General Counsel, Grant Thornton LLP, Chicago

Daniel S. Sommers, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, Washington, D.C.

David L. Sorgen, Associate General Counsel, Deloitte LLP, New York

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

Samuel Waldon, Assistant Chief Counsel, Division of Enforcement, Office of Chief Counsel, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C.

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

Junaid A. Zubairi, Vedder Price PC, Chicago


                  ALI CLE Program Attorney: Jaimee L. 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. Current Developments and Course Overview - Mr. Eickemeyer
A review of this year’s regulatory, litigation and business trends affecting the accounting profession and an introduction to the in-depth explorations of the program.

9:00 a.m. Keynote Address
Barry C. Melancon, President and CEO, AICPA, Washington, D.C.

9:45 a.m. Networking and Refreshment Break, sponsored by McGladrey LLP

10:00 a.m. The PCAOB's Perspective - Mr. Modesti and Mss. Armstrong and Preheim
The PCAOB director and deputy 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.

10:45 a.m. Independence Issues - Messrs. Hauben , Hubbell, and Husich, and Ms. Rudolph
Independence is a core audit concept and is always a hot topic for regulators and litigants. This segment explores the issues that 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. The panel will consider implications of recent actions by the SEC and PCAOB against auditors in the broker-dealer and public company contexts.

11:30 a.m. Auditing and Accounting Issues and Substantive Defense Strategies in SEC and PCAOB Proceedings - Messrs. Cutler, S.Schreiber, Sorgen, and Waldon and Ms. Koenigs
Representing an accountant, and understanding the regulator's focus, in a SEC or PCAOB investigation calls for different skills and tactics than private litigation, 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. Networking lunch (provided)
Webcast Segment B
Litigating an Accountants' Liability Case: Hear from Plaintiff and Defense Counsel
Panels composed of experienced plaintiffs’ attorneys and defense counsel offer practical advice on litigating an accountants’ liability case, including motion practice; discovery strategies; electronic discovery issues; trial themes; motions in limine; witness selection and preparation; presenting accounting issues to a jury; the use of technology; and opening and closing statements.

1:45 p.m. Plaintiffs' Panel - Messrs. Dumain, Mr. Olts, and Sommers

2:30 p.m. Defense Panel - Mss. Cave and Coberly and Mr. Hubbell

3:15 p.m. Networking and Refreshment Break, sponsored by Morvillo LLP

3:30 p.m.The Future of Securities Class Actions Against Accounting Firms in the Wake of Halliburton and other Supreme Court Decisions - Mss. Harwood, Rendón and Pulliam
This panel will explore trends in securities class actions generally and the impact on suits against accounting firms. The discussion will include an update on key court decisions, including the Halliburton decision on certification.

4:15 p.m. Damages and Causation - Messrs. Dropkin, Kleidon, and Olts
An otherwise strong case will end badly without well-founded and clearly articulated causation and damages theories. The most effective defense is often a demonstration of the lack of proximate cause or damages with strong factual or statistical foundation. This session discusses the latest case law on these critical issues and the economic underpinnings of causation and damages theories and defenses.

5:00 p.m. Maximizing the Value of Testifying and Consulting Experts - Messrs. Eickemeyer and Love
Expert witnesses are a critical to an accountants’ liability case. This segment centers on making the most of expert engagements and emphasizes how experts can contribute to every litigation phase. Practical tips for working with consulting and testifying experts will be shared. The recent procedural rule changes affecting expert reports and discovery will also be addressed.

5:45 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. Hauben, Keeley, Mann, Miller, and Shearer
Client demands, budget constraints, and regulatory changes bring new challenges for accounting firms and their in-house counsel. This segment features counsel from national and regional firms, who share their perspectives on the key legal issues they address on a daily basis, and on the difficulties of meeting client expectations while still protecting their firms’ interests.

8:45 a.m.SEC and the Profession - Messrs. Mejia, Mixter, Woodcock and Zubairi and Ms.Rendón
With the formation last year of a Financial Reporting Task Force, the SEC's Division of Enforcement has signaled renewed interest in accounting matters. 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 to avoid them. This crucial segment examines recent case filings data, restatements, settlements and other developments of interest to both sides of the table. The implications of this data for accounting professionals, regulators, standards-setters and counsel are also considered.

10:30 a.m. Networking and Refreshment Break

10:45 a.m. The SEC's Whistleblower Program: Implications for Accounting Firms - Mss. Papez and Rendón and Mr. Morris
The SEC's Whistleblower program has momentum, presenting significant implications for accounting firms. We will report on the status of this still-new law and the SEC's program. The relationship between whistleblower law and auditor obligations under Section 10A, and otherwise, will be analyzed. We also will address what firms can do today to protect themselves.

11:45 a.m. Accounting Risks and Exposures in the International Arena - Messrs. Block, Roberts, Ruthberg, and S.Schreiber
International accounting firms face many challenges in the United States. This panel addresses the most pressing issues for them and the unique aspects of working with international firms, domestically and internationally. This session also discusses the SEC Administrative Judge's decision-now under appeal-imposing a bar on the China firms of the major accounting networks from auditing US companies.


12:45 p.m. Lunch on your own
Webcast Segment D


2:00 p.m.Data Security in the Accounting Industry: Identifying and Minimizing Risks - Messrs. Osinoff, Schreiber and Univer
Target and Niemen Marcus are recent data theft victims. While many perceive data security as a retailer concern, those in the accounting industry realize the need to ensure the proper precautions are taken to secure client data, as well as their own to avoid the hefty fines and potential litigation arising out of a data breach. This session explores vulnerabilities, due diligence standards, disclosure obligations, criminal sanctions and more!


2:45 p.m. Non - Public Company Accounting Litigation - Messrs. Eickemeyer and Herzog
While cases involving public company audits grab the headlines, the majority of cases against accountants involve privately-held companies and governmental or not-for-profit entities. These clients pose different challenges for their accountants than do public companies – and different problems for the attorneys who defend them, both of which will be discussed. This panel also addresses simplified reporting for smaller companies and the potential liability it presents.


3:15 p.m. Networking and Refreshment Break


3:30 p.m.Privilege, Internal Investigations, & Employee Discipline: The Ethical Trifecta - Mr. Berger
Something went wrong. A mistake was made, now requiring internal investigations and employee discipline. Yet, the threat of liability is on the horizon and privilege must be maintained. This session explorers this conundrum, while sharing strategies to help maintain privilege, as you march forward.


4:30 p.m. Adjournment


Total 60-minute hours of instruction: 14.5 hours, including 1 hour 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.
Excellent content & format
Still, I find this course to be both interesting, informative, and generally relevant to my practice.
This is a fantastic course.
I thought the topics were good and the presentations were well thought out and executed well.
I really enjoyed the conference. It was my first time, and I was really impressed with the breadth of topics covered and the quality of the speakers.

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