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Basics of Accounting for Lawyers 2017: What Every Practicing Lawyer Needs to Know

Author(s): Lawrence M. Cirelli, Chetan Joshi, Brooke Bailey, John J. Molenda, Carolann Gemski, Colleen S. Vallen
Practice Area: Accounting, Corporate & Securities, Litigation, Professional Skills
Published: Jul 2017
ISBN: 9781402429125
PLI Item #: 182470
CHB Spine #: B2327

John Molenda is co-chair of Steptoe's Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry Practice, is head of the Intellectual Property Practice for the New York office, and has served on the firm's Executive Committee. He focuses on patent litigation at the district court and appellate levels, opinions of counsel, due diligence, and post-grant proceedings, including inter partes reviews (IPRs) and reexaminations. He represents clients across technologies, including biotherapeutics (biologics), pharmaceuticals (Hatch-Waxman), biochemical research tools, genetically modified plants, medical devices, semiconductors, fiber optics, and computer software.

With respect to John’s appellate practice, he litigates regularly in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, including briefing, oral argument, and complex motion practice. He has held substantial roles in over 20 Federal Circuit appeals, including arguing one of the first pharmaceutical-related IPR appeals. John is active in the Federal Circuit community, currently serving as a Vice Chair of the Federal Circuit Bar Association’s Bench & Bar Planning Committee. He has previously held leadership roles on the FCBA’s Patent Litigation, Legislation, and Rules Committees. Prior to private practice, he served as a Federal Circuit law clerk for the Honorable Alan D. Lourie.

With respect to his district court and IPR practices, John has served as lead or co-lead counsel in district court litigations across the United States and has played key roles in multiple trials, mediations, and Markman proceedings. At the same time, John routinely counsels clients on the strategic use of IPRs as part of litigation and settlement strategy, and has served as lead counsel in numerous IPR proceedings on behalf of both petitioners and patent owners. John has served as co-chair of PLI’s Fundamentals of Patent Litigation program since 2014 and speaks regularly about current topics and trends in IPR practice.

While John’s work encompasses a wide range of technologies, he has developed a particular expertise in the area of biologics and biosimilars. He currently represents two pharmaceutical companies in a case involving blockbuster biologics to lower cholesterol and is coordinating pre-litigation strategy and counseling for a global biosimilars program involving high-value monoclonal antibody and cytokine products. John has also led biologics teams conducting transaction-related diligence and pre-petition diligence in advance of IPR filings. He speaks frequently on recent developments involving biologics and biosimilars for organizations including ACI, World Congress, Knowledge Group, BIOTECanada, Canaccord Genuity, and the FCBA.

Colleen is a partner in the firm’s Valuation and Forensic Services practice and is based in the Philadelphia office. As an expert in the field of forensic and investigative accounting, Colleen has focused her attention on forensic and fraud investigations, the preparation of financial damage analysis and litigation support.

Colleen is highly experienced in the analysis, investigation and review of financial documents. Other responsibilities have included case planning and management, financial and economic analysis, expert report preparation, oral presentation of findings as well as assistance with discovery, interrogatories and depositions.

Prior to joining the firm she worked for a litigation consulting and a forensic accounting firm and with a Big 4 accounting firm as an auditor.

Colleen is an adjunct professor at Villanova Law School. She has been engaged by law firms, legal, banking and utility associations, insurance companies, and other associations to speak on a variety of topics, including business interruption, financial document analysis and fraud. Colleen has also provided continuing education to attorneys and individuals through various seminars, including a full day class on fraud geared to the banking industry.

Colleen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Rutgers University. Her education has been supplemented by various continuing education courses with an emphasis on fraud investigation, forensic accounting, financial analysis and business interruption. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA).

Brooke is a Director in BPM’s Valuation Services group and brings more than 20 years of financial advisory and valuation experience to the practice.  Prior to joining BPM, she was a Managing Director with The Brenner Group, where she conducted hundreds of valuation engagements for private emerging growth companies, primarily for stock-based compensation purposes.  She has done additional work in the areas of gift and estate tax and complex security valuations.  Her diverse client base spans many industries, with a concentration on the technology sector.

Brooke has held finance positions in the San Francisco Bay Area at Duke Capital Partners, a commercial real estate investment firm; Gridstone Research, a venture-backed financial data platform; and Instream Partners, a financial advisory boutique.  She has previous experience in private equity investing for funds affiliated with FBR & Co. in the Washington, D.C. area.


  • MBA – Georgetown University
  • Bachelor of Science in Economics – Bryn Mawr College


Demystifying Valuations for Venture-Backed Companies

Bailey, Brooke; Heath, John; Hofmann, Gunther

Educational Seminar for Attorneys, Approved for 1.5 hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California

Professional Affiliations

  • Brooke is a CFA charterholder and member of the CFA Society - San Francisco (CFASF).

Lawrence M. Cirelli is a trial lawyer and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. His practice focuses on complex business litigation, including disputes among shareholders, owners, officers and directors of companies, fiduciary duty, contracts, professional liability, false advertising, trade secrets, non-competition agreements and unfair competition claims. He also represents clients in partnership and corporate dissolution actions. His experience as a certified public accountant brings a unique skill set and perspective to these types of matters. A significant part of his practice also involves the defense of consumer class actions. Larry has tried numerous jury and court trials, as well as arbitrations, in a range of cases spanning business torts, commercial contracts, business dissolutions, real estate, insurance, environmental, professional liability and products liability.

Carolann Gemski is the Midwest Regional Director of the Office of Dispute Resolution with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA).  FINRA is the largest independent regulator of securities firms doing business with the U.S. public.  FINRA’s chief role is to protect investors by maintaining the fairness of the U.S. capital markets, carried out by writing and enforcing rules, examining firms for compliance with the rules, informing and educating investors, helping firms pre-empt risk and stay in compliance, and providing trade reporting and other industry utilities.  FINRA also operates the largest securities dispute resolution forum in the U.S., assisting in the resolution of disputes between and among investors, securities firms and registered representatives. In her role, Ms. Gemski oversees administration of FINRA’s arbitration program in 17 states.

Ms. Gemski has spent the majority of her career working in public service, including 10 years with the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Chicago. Prior to that, Ms. Gemski held the positions of Assistant Corporation Counsel in the General Litigation Division of the District of Columbia Office of Corporation Counsel, Special Counsel for Child Support Enforcement in Rockville, MD, and Associate in private practice in Annapolis, MD. Most recently, Ms. Gemski held senior leadership positions in Compliance at BMO Financial Group and Kaplan Higher Education.  

Ms. Gemski is a graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (MBA), the American University Washington College of Law (JD, cum laude), and Louisiana State University, (BA, Journalism), and she is a member of the Bar in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Illinois.


•  Chet Joshi is a Senior Manager in Ernst & Young’s Tax Technology & Transformation group. This group of professionals provides an array of tax function consulting services to improve the operating performance of corporate tax departments. His focus is on data and the underlying processes that create it, whether at source, staging, or analysis stages, so it can be turned into useful information - when data is turned into information provides valuable insights about the business.


•  Chet has over 25 years of diversified accounting, tax, technology, business process, and data management experience and has focused much of his career in improvement of tax process, technology and controls, including responsibility of technology related project management. He combines process and technology experience to elicit the best solution, and often a right one, that creates value for business organizations. His deep experience in business process was strengthened by working on projects involving IT compliance audits, accounting/fraud investigations, and litigation support. His technology experience was built by designing and implementing solutions resulting in enterprise value based on data governance principles.

•  Chet assists his clients in management of tax technology strategy & roadmaps, business transformations including technology for ERP implementations/upgrades or financial consolidation implementations, tax data management applications, and tax data retention projects to meet the needs of the Tax function.

•  Moreover, Chet has extensive experience steeped in accounting and finance business processes from conducting financial investigations, which included IT data governance, compliance  principles and forensic technology. Additionally, such project require a deep knowledge of accounting and finance business processes to understand how underlying data is created in financial systems.

Clients served

•  Chet has served many multi-national, and domestic, Fortune 500 clients in providing diversified services such business process change, technology implementations, investigations, litigation, and analytics. Below is a sample of industry experience:

•  Manufacturing

•  Automotive

•  Financial Services

•  Diversified Global Conglomerate 

•  Insurance

•  Pharmaceutical

•  Forest Products

•  Oil & Gas

Education and certifications

•  Bachelor Science degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois – Chicago.

•  Master’s in Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago Booth School Of Business.