Professional Liability Claims Against Accountants: Assessing and Defending Claims

Mitigating Malpractice Liability and Avoiding Regulatory Actions and Private Litigation

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Recorded event now available

Course Materials

This CLE course will prepare counsel to assess professional liability risks for accountants, understand emerging liability theories, and respond to and provide a strong defense to accountant malpractice claims, regulatory enforcement and private litigation.


Accountants face more liability risks than ever, driven by a surge in data breach incidences, the return of M&A activity requiring business valuations, the impact of the Affordable Care Act on tax preparation, an increase in baby boomer retirement planning and wealth transfer, and more.

Typical claims allege professional negligence, failure to follow professional standards, unauthorized practice of law, and violations of professional ethics. Recent heightened scrutiny and enforcement by government regulators only exacerbates liability exposure. With malpractice risks rising for accountants, counsel must be prepared to represent clients’ interests by appropriately assessing and responding to claims and asserting appropriate defenses.

Listen as our authoritative panel analyzes emerging theories of liability against accountants and accounting firms. The panel will offer best practices for defending accountants against professional liability claims, regulatory enforcement and private lawsuits.



  1. Professional liability claims against accountants
    1. Regulatory enforcement (PCAOB, SEC)
    2. Accountant litigation
  2. Considerations in assessing alleged claims
  3. Defenses to claims against accountants
    1. Contributory negligence
    2. Estoppel
    3. Statute of limitations
    4. Proximate cause
    5. “Unclean hands” or in pari delicto defense
    6. Deepening insolvency
    7. Business judgment rule
  4. Recent developments


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Emerging theories of professional liability asserted against accountants and accounting firms
  • Best practices when defending accountants against such claims
  • Criteria for practitioners to assess the basis of claims


Michael Braverman
Michael Braverman


Mr. Braverman focuses on accounting and auditor malpractice, white collar matters, SEC and internal investigations,...  |  Read More

A. Neil Hartzell
A. Neil Hartzell


Mr. Hartzell focuses his practice on representing both plaintiffs and defendants in complex civil litigation...  |  Read More

Ben N. Dunlap
Ben N. Dunlap


Mr. Dunlap focuses his practice on complex civil litigation. He represents financial institutions, construction...  |  Read More

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