How Attorneys Can Effectively Utilize a CPA in Litigation

Lisa G. Miller
Director of Litigation Services
September 20, 2018

The right expert selected to compute economic damages is a critical ingredient to help an attorney’s case involving economic damages. As CPAs, we are asked to provide independent, objective opinions and/or consult on issues in a case.

What CPAs do in litigation:

CPAs analyze financial information and other relevant data. These analyses are used to develop conclusions about the issues and form the basis to independently calculate economic damages that are defensible in a court of law or other forum.

We are hired in a variety of disputes and investigations:

  • Breach of contract
  • Breach of representation
  • Shareholder dispute
  • Insurance loss claims, especially those involving business profits
  • Franchise and distributor disputes
  • Intellectual property disputes (including patent, trademark and trade secrets)
  • Lender liability
  • Bankruptcy dispute and court appointed investigators
  • Trust and estate disputes
  • Marital dissolutions
  • Employee dishonesty or fraudulent financial statements
  • Accountants failure to detect fraud
  • Employment disputes

We perform a variety of tasks, including ones not solely related to the analysis of financial statements:

  • Developing deposition questions
  • Reviewing correspondence/non-financial information
  • Assisting with document requests/interrogatory responses

FSS helps attorneys in many ways in anticipated litigation:

We provide the analyses that attorneys use in settlement discussions even prior to a lawsuit being filed. During an initial phase of litigation, we can assess facts and provide a preliminary estimate of damages, if they exist.

FSS serves attorneys in litigation:

We serve as an expert witness or a consultant. As an expert witness, we are an advocate for our opinion, not the attorney’s client. There are nuances to litigation services work, which is why it is critical to enlist the FSS team, comprised of individuals who understand the litigation process.

When FSS serves as a consultant, our role is usually never disclosed, so our work is not generally discoverable. A consultant’s role is similar to an attorney’s advisor.

Reasons FSS is hired as expert witnesses by attorneys:

  1. Credentialed professionals bring credibility to important cases.
  2. Economic damages analyses and forensic investigations involve complex financial issues, which FSS can explain in clear, understandable terms. With the aid of the most advanced technology, FSS can show a trier the facts of what happened and the cost of what happened.
  3. Employees of a party to the litigation are not independent. Also, they are likely not trained to testify nor know how to calculate damages to a reasonable degree of certainty.

When an attorney should hire FSS as an expert witness: 

As early as possible.

While cost is always a consideration, cost can be managed by taking the appropriate steps in close communication with our client, the attorney. FSS can manage fees through the following:

  • Budgets and workplans
  • Work performed in phases
  • Regular billing to avoid any surprises

Whether serving as expert witness or consultant, FSS adds great value to attorneys. Learn more about FSS litigation services here.

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Investigative Financial Consulting