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Professional Liability

We offer a range of services to professional and accounting organizations, such as defending claims at trial, handling regulatory investigations, and consulting on liability reform proposals.

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We represent professional organizations and their members in lawsuits, regulatory investigations, transactions and legislative matters. We also regularly represent leading accounting firms, major consulting firms, and numerous national and international law firms. In fact, we have tried several matters to successful conclusion and have prevailed at the motion stage in numerous cases on behalf of professional firms. On the legislative front, our lawyers played a substantial role in achieving passage of both the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998.

Accountants Team

Mayer Brown has developed a global team of accounting law professionals to meet our accounting clients’ international practice needs across the Americas, Asia and Europe. Through our offices worldwide, we have the resources necessary to respond quickly to any issue faced by leading accounting firms, contentious or otherwise.

We have gained a thorough understanding of the structures, cultures and operating practices of accounting networks and individual firms from our longstanding relationships as well as from the experience of several of our lawyers working within accounting firm general counsels’ offices. This understanding enables us to provide legal advice that takes into consideration the business, regulatory and other realities applicable to the accounting industry, and has resulted in our being called upon to support accounting networks’ wider global needs.

In addition to our extensive experience representing US member firms in US proceedings and UK member firms in UK proceedings, we have provided strategic oversight of the handling of claims worldwide, including claims against member firms in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, the Cayman Islands, Korea and India. In some instances we have worked with our existing local teams as well as local teams from other law firms.

Mayer Brown’s US lawyers have extensive experience representing leading accounting firms and individual auditors in litigation and regulatory matters. Our group also regularly advises on risk management and firm policy matters and has extensive experience applying and interpreting the relevant professional standards, including GAAP, GAAS, PCAOB Auditing Standards and Rules, and SEC regulations and interpretations.

Our London Insurance and Reinsurance group is regularly instructed to defend firms of accountants insured through the London insurance market. We have strong relationships with not just the accountancy practices, but also their insurers and brokers having specialised in this field for over two decades. We are experienced in dealing with tax and insolvency matters, regulatory investigations, complex causation issues and all problems that can impact on an accountancy practice. Our London office is highly rated in the legal directories for its expertise in this area.

Consultants Team

Prominent consulting firms regularly turn to Mayer Brown for assistance when confronting significant legal matters, including professional negligence suits, trade secret disputes, employment lawsuits and claims arising under federal and state securities laws. Whether the adverse party is a government agency, a competitor or a client, we have the experience and the resources necessary to handle the matter. Our global team of lawyers enables us to meet the legal needs of international consulting firms, wherever they may arise.

Lawyers Team

Law firms are not immune from litigation initiated by dissatisfied clients, disgruntled former employees, regulatory agencies and state and federal prosecutors. We recognize that any claim against a law firm, regardless of its merit, has the potential to cause embarrassment and injury to the firm’s carefully cultivated reputation. Major law firms consistently rely upon our team for counseling and representation in connection with a broad array of significant matters including the evaluation of potential malpractice exposure in connection with specific client engagements, resolution of client conflicts and other ethics issues, and resolution of partnership and employment disputes.

In addition, we have been retained by law firms and lawyers to handle the following types of litigation matters:

  • Defense of legal malpractice claims brought by clients, investors and other parties who contend that the law firm owed them a duty of care.
  • SEC inquiries and state and federal grand jury investigations.
  • Deposition, grand jury or trial testimony in matters involving current or former clients of the law firm.
  • State and local bar disciplinary committees.
  • Defense of wrongful termination, breach of fiduciary duty and other employment suits.
  • Expert testimony concerning the standard of care for the provision of particular types of legal services.

The breadth of our practice enables us to employ a multidisciplinary approach in our defense of legal malpractice claims. Typically, the team assembled to handle a case will include experienced malpractice lawyers with knowledge of the practice area implicated by the claim, a member of our electronic discovery team to facilitate the efficient gathering and production of documents, and an appellate lawyer to ensure that errors by the trial court are preserved for appeal. We understand that law firms are among the most sophisticated consumers of legal services, and we welcome the collaboration of our law firm clients in the development and implementation of successful defense strategies.

Licensing, Naming and Other Risk Management Issues

Mayer Brown regularly consults with professional services firms on risk management and regulatory compliance matters. The members of our professional liability practice have significant experience in developing and implementing records retention policies and procedures for various business lines as well as risk and administrative functions. We also collaborate with our Electronic Discovery and Records Management team to deliver best practices and other cost effective measures to support efficient data collection policies. Furthermore, our team is familiar with state and federal rules and regulations related to advertising and marketing and regularly advises professional services firms on compliance with these rules.

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