Doerner lawyers have the skill, knowledge and experience to handle professional liability matters that arise under the legal structures that are unique to professional services work. We represent accounting and law firms in professional liability litigation, regulatory matters and government investigations. Our practitioners bring all of the firm’s resources to bear on issues facing our clients, and have practical experience with and understanding of the defenses necessary to protect the professional reputations of our clients.
Our lawyers have represented professionals and professional services firms in matters involving allegations of malpractice and fraud, appearing in federal and state court, in mediations and arbitrations, in federal and state government and grand jury investigations, and in disciplinary proceedings before state licensing boards. Using broad experience in discovery issues, we help our clients meet the obligation to preserve, collect and produce documents and files as requested in litigation, government inquiries and non-party subpoenas.
We bring to the representation of accounting firms a detailed knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and auditing standards, comprehensive understanding of how audit teams plan, conduct and document their audit work, and know the respective roles of management, audit committees and auditors in the financial reporting process. We understand how professional standards intersect with various federal and state laws, including the reforms enacted by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Equally important, we are familiar with relationship dynamics between accounting firms and their regulators, including the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), and have represented accounting firms, their partners and employees before both agencies. Our cases and matters run the gamut of issues from financial fraud and restatement to fair value accounting, pension accounting, inquiries into stock option dating practices and issues affecting the sub-prime mortgage lending industry.
Defense of professional liability actions against accountants is our primary area of emphasis. Claimants may be former clients, bankruptcy trustees, insurance liquidators, shareholders (through class actions, in derivative suits or otherwise), creditors, investors, insurers and a host of others who allege reliance on our accounting clients’ work.
We defend the quality of that work and aggressively pursue claimants to the test on issues of privity, causation, reliance, imputation, contributory fault, deepening insolvency and applicable statutes of limitations. We also have planned for and successfully participated in early mediations, where we identify and focus quickly on the strategies that are most helpful to our clients. In addition to handling claims arising out of audit engagements, we have represented clients in litigation arising out of review engagements, engagements involving financial projections, tax work, valuation engagements and management consulting engagements.
We represent law firms and lawyers in malpractice and negligence actions, as well as in a broad range of white collar and governmental regulatory actions, state bar disciplinary proceedings and investigations at the federal and state levels. As effective litigators and creative problem solvers, we have the ability to address the broad range of risk management and professional liability challenges law firms face.
This includes strategies for cost-effectively resolving external malpractice challenges, identifying the cause of the problems giving rise to those challenges and working collaboratively with law firm management to develop and implement effective remedial policies. In all such work we maintain absolute confidentiality.
For law firm clients facing a litigation or risk management crisis, Doerner lawyers collaborate with client firm management to develop integrated litigation, regulatory and media relations strategies, working to minimize the impact on firm reputation, lawyers, staff and clients. If representation in court is necessary, our lawyers have the skills and experience to assess and resolve cases effectively and efficiently, through dispositive motions, trial or (when the facts, circumstances and case assessment warrant it) an early settlement or mediation. Our role in this regard includes providing sensitive and confidential representation in all aspects of internal investigations and governmental investigations, including SEC and grand jury investigations.
Beyond representation in court, our firm offers sophisticated counseling regarding the steps and policies necessary for law firm clients to minimize or avoid risk management issues. For example, we advise on management of relations with insurers and compliance with policy requirements to maximize the recovery of defense costs, settlements or judgments.
Top Areas of Focus
Professional liability defense
Representation before accounting and legal licensing bodies
Risk management audits regarding legal structure and succession plans
Employment law compliance assessment covering professionals and employees
Confidential investigations of employment and regulatory matters
Review of firm protocol and procedure compliance with state of Oklahoma regulations
Solution-oriented advice on firm management and structure
Advice on practical issues involving governance, lending and business disputes