Practice

Accountants & Professional Liability Defense

Strategically advising and aggressively defending accounting firms

Foley Hoag is a top national law firm for major accounting firms in disputes with clients, investors, trustees, lenders and regulatory authorities. Our accountants and professional liability defense lawyers regularly represent audit, tax, consulting, and transaction service professionals at the Big Four and other national and regional firms in a wide array of litigation, arbitration, administrative and government matters.

We offer our clients a strong track record of getting cases dismissed early in litigation and have developed some of the leading case law limiting an accountant’s liability under both state and federal law. When litigation is necessary, our team brings substantial trial experience before juries, courts and arbitrators. We are one of just a handful of firms around the country to have handled jury trials and full arbitrations for the Big Four and other national accounting firms.

More than half of our work representing accounting firms involves government investigations by the SEC, PCAOB, IRS and other federal and state authorities. We have handled government investigations throughout the country before state and federal authorities and are proud of our repeated successes in convincing regulators not to bring claims against our clients.

Foley Hoag's Accountants & Professional Liability practice has a deep bench of senior lawyers who have worked closely with our clients for years on audit, accounting and tax issues and a broad range of other professional liability matters.  Our longstanding relationship with clients in this space has made us effective at communicating these complex matters to judges, juries, arbitrators and regulators.

We also have notable experience representing international affiliates of U.S. firms in disputes and investigations.

Areas of Focus

We have the skills and knowledge to defend you in an array of litigation, arbitration, administrative and government matters. Attorneys in our Accountants and Professional Liability Practice have successfully defended accounting firms throughout the U.S. in:
  • Investigations by the SEC, IRS and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)
  • State common law actions
  • Arbitrations
  • Federal securities class actions
  • State accounting board investigations
  • Private securities litigation
  • Accounting malpractice cases
  • Bankruptcy matters 

Key Contacts

Experience

  • Represented national accounting firm as settlement counsel of securities class action in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York and related actions and government investigations in state and federal court in Illinois, New York and DC.
  • Represented Big 4 firm in federal action in Connecticut filed by limited partners of a tax shelter challenging the firm’s review report included in the offering materials used to promote the shelter.
  • Regularly represent Big 4 and other accounting firms in SEC proceedings and in responding to SEC subpoenas; currently representing several Big 4 firms in active SEC matters with the Boston, New York and Washington enforcement staff.
  • Represented various accounting firms and professionals in proceedings before professional and governmental licensing boards including the PCAOB, the CFA Institute, AICPA and state boards of accountancy.
  • Represented Big 4 firm in responding to Puerto Rico legislative committee inquiry concerning the status of the audit of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s financial statements.
  • Represented Big 4 consulting firm in responding to Massachusetts Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight inquiry and hearings concerning several IT consulting projects performed for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • Represented Big 4 audit firm in connection with expedited mediation of professional negligence and malpractice allegations by former audit client and investigations by federal agencies concerning the firm’s A-133 audits.
  • Represented Big 4 consulting firm in connection with False Claims Act investigation brought by Massachusetts Attorney General.
  • Representing Canadian affiliate of Big 4 firm in federal actions arising out of tax advice provided to Canadian subsidiary of U.S. corporation, and related investigations by Canadian tax authorities.
  • Defended Bermuda affiliate of Big 4 accounting firm in malpractice action in Maine Superior Court and Israeli affiliate of Big 4 firm in SEC matter.
  • Obtained immediate dismissal of claims against a national accounting firm for alleged negligent failure to detect bank employee embezzlement in state court action in Pennsylvania.
  • Represented a Big Four firm in a suit brought by a multi-generational family office arising out of the COO’s defalcation and alleged conversion of investment opportunities.
  • Represented a Big Four accounting firm in MDL federal securities class action, In re Tyco International Ltd., and related SEC investigation, state investigation and derivative action.
  • Represented a Big Four accounting firm in a state action brought by a bank syndicate providing a revolving credit line to a healthcare equipment company securitizing collateralized debt obligations.

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