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Basics of Accounting for Lawyers 2019 SF

Speaker(s): A. Christine Davis, Brett Kumm, Dan Winter, David W. Evans, Jonathan Carey, Jonathan Hilton, Lawrence M. Cirelli, Maryellen Sebold, Matthew D. Harrison, Michael L. Cypers, Terry M. Lloyd, Tim Sherman
Recorded on: Jul. 23, 2019
PLI Program #: 252434

A. Christine (Chris) Davis is an accounting, financial, and economic damages expert in litigation and testifies in state and federal courts. She works with attorneys and their clients, businesses, nonprofits, and public agencies.

With 29 years of experience, Chris provides damages calculations, accounting expertise, and expert testimony by deposition and at trial on matters involving commercial damages such as lost profits, complex accounting analyses and the application of accounting and auditing standards, accountant malpractice, valuation methods and estimates, partnership disputes, and allegations of accounting and financial fraud. As a highly experienced forensic accountant, she is regularly retained to conduct internal investigations involving accounting and financial reporting matters and alleged financial improprieties. Chris has also been retained in connection with evaluating alleged wage and hour violations and quantifying potential unpaid wages.

Chris is the founder and president of Financial Evidence Group, a CPA Firm. Prior to founding Financial Evidence Group, Chris held numerous leadership positions as a partner or managing director at CPA and consulting firms providing litigation support, expert witness, and forensic accounting services. In addition to being a CPA in California, New York, and Oregon, she holds credentials in financial forensics and business valuation. Earlier in her career, she was a financial statement auditor and tax professional at two CPA firms, including a Big 6 firm. She is a published author and develops and teaches CLE programs for Practising Law Institute and Continuing Education of the Bar of California.

Whether testifying as an expert witness, presenting investigative findings, or teaching CLE courses, Chris’s primary goals are to be well-prepared, to inform, and to persuade. She excels at unraveling and explaining, in plain English, complicated financial analyses while efficiently instilling fundamental financial concepts. Having testified numerous times in federal and state courts, she has the frontline experience to successfully communicate her findings with clarity, objectivity, impact, and care.

Brett Kumm is a Senior Managing Director in FTI Consulting’s Forensic & Litigation segment. Mr. Kumm has more than 20 years of experience providing consulting, accounting and audit services. He has extensive experience leading investigatory forensic engagements related to complex financial and accounting matters. Prior to joining FTI Consulting, Mr. Kumm spent 18 years providing advisory and mergers and acquisition services at the internationally recognized accounting firms of KPMG and Andersen.

Mr. Kumm is routinely requested by counsel, representing companies and board of director committees, to conduct internal investigations over financial reporting matters, including recently spearheading several high-profile investigations at both public and large private enterprises. In addition, Mr. Kumm has significant experience assisting counsel regarding M&A disputes, including large working capital and earn-out disputes. His M&A dispute experiences include participating in the role of a neutral.

Mr. Kumm has served a variety of industries including, among others, technology, transportation, manufacturing, investor-owned utilities, leasing, advertising, steel, aviation, construction, consumer products, distribution and communication industries. Mr. Kumm has substantial SEC experience and has been engaged to spearhead large scale restatement and carve-out projects, including recently assisting a large Fortune 500 company complete a $200+ million multi-year restatement to its previously reported net income.  Many engagements have included extensive investigation of underlying operational activity and the creation/reconstruction of accounting and financial records for purposes of financial and forensic analyses. 

Mr. Kumm has considerable merger and acquisition experience that includes completing buy and sell side due-diligence projects and evaluating the accounting implications of dispositions of a portion of a business and mergers and acquisitions, including carve-outs and special purpose financial statements. Mr. Kumm also has substantial experience evaluating SEC reporting matters and an in-depth knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles. Mr. Kumm has assisted clients with public debt and equity offerings, evaluation of derivative and hedging activities and complex debt and equity transactions.

Mr. Kumm has been the lead instructor on a variety of technical trainings for both external and internal audiences. This has included presenting technical trainings on accounting for revenue, leasing, business combinations, provision for income taxes, audit methodologies, SOX 404 compliance and sampling courses.

Mr. Kumm is a certified public accountant and graduated from the University of Oregon where he earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance.

David W. Evans is the Managing Partner of Haight Brown & Bonesteel’s San Francisco office. He is the leader of the Professional Liability Practice Group and a member of the Risk Management & Insurance Law Practice Group. He also acts as General Counsel for the firm. His practice focuses on the defense and trial of professional liability actions against lawyers and accountants, professional fee disputes and representation of insurers in coverage matters and bad faith litigation. He has worked with both domestic and London-based insurance companies in defending a wide variety of claims against lawyers and accountants.

He has over 40 years of trial experience in professional liability and commercial litigation matters and has arbitrated numerous professional fee disputes. He regularly counsels law and accounting firms on ethics and professional responsibility matters, including engagements, billing, and disengagement issues, intra-partnership disputes and, in the case of law firms, disqualification motions, attorney-client privilege matters and work product disputes. He is a frequent speaker at continuing education programs involving loss prevention, professional ethics, and risk management, for both lawyers and accountants.


  • University of California at Los Angeles (JD, 1977)
  • University of Southern California (BA, 1974)


  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section - Professional, Officers' and Directors' Liability Committee
  • Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section - Professional Liability Committee
  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Arbitrator, Fee Arbitration Disputes Panel - 1988-Present
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance

Jonathan Carey is the Founder and President of LegalVision a litigation presentation strategy consulting firm in San Francisco, CA.

LegalVision helps attorneys prevail on complex and complicated cases.


  • Work closely with attorneys on business, anti-trust, tort and criminal trials
  • Turn complex data and contested narrative into simple, persuasive visuals
  • Design visuals that help attorneys explain their case in a way that helps jurors understand, remember, and care when it is time to deliberate.
  • Optimize results using “design thinking” and “red team” consulting approaches
  • Produce communications to reduce time to case resolution
  • Help attorneys increase returns on overall litigation investment and yield

In addition to a BS in Mechanical Engineering Design from the University of Massachusetts, Jonathan received an MBA in Marketing from Tulane University.

Jonathan Hilton is a member of the Andersen Tax Private Client Services group, who works with ultra-high net worth individuals, multi-generational family groups, executives at both established firms and early stage companies, and fund principals at venture capital and private equity firms.

Jonathan has more than 10 years of experience in tax compliance and professional tax advisory services.

Jonathan’s service specializations include:

  • Individual income tax planning and compliance
  • Estate and gift planning
  • Fiduciary tax strategies and compliance
  • Family office structuring and compliance
  • Equity compensation strategies

He is a speaker at the Public Law Institute in the area of accounting for lawyers. He has instructed firm trainings in the areas of income accounting, fiduciary tax accounting, wealth transfer, partnership theory and reporting, and S corporation taxation.

Jonathan serves as President of the San Francisco Chapter of the BYU Management Society.

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.

Maryellen Sebold is a Partner in RSM’s Financial Investigations and Dispute Advisory Services practice.  She is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor, and is certified in Financial Forensics. She has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of forensic accounting and fraud investigations, litigation consulting, bankruptcy, and corporate restructuring.   

Maryellen has led teams in the development of strategies specific to complex financial fraud matters and internal investigations of public and private companies.  She has performed investigations into allegations of fraud and mismanagement including preparing and evaluating employee dishonesty and fidelity bond claims. She has been involved in investigating misappropriation of assets, Ponzi schemes, and financial statement irregularities, as well as evaluating alter-ego issues.  Maryellen is experienced in calculating economic damages, evaluating shareholder and partnership disputes, and analyzing budget overruns. 

She has been designated as an expert witness and has testified in numerous trials, depositions and arbitrations, applying her specialized knowledge to a wide range of industries, including construction, entertainment, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, publishing, real estate and property management, securities, and transportation. In the bankruptcy arena, Maryellen has worked with trustees and creditors' committees as a financial advisor in Chapter 7 and 11 matters.  In addition, she has worked with bank syndications in efforts to restructure multimillion-dollar loans made to failing companies.

Professional credentials and affiliations

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California and New York
  • Certified Insolvency & Restructuring Advisor (CIRA)
  • Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) 
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Member
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Past Council Member
  • Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors, Member
  • CalCPA - Past Council Member and Past Board Member
  • CalCPA - Forensic Services Steering Committee
  • CalCPA - Education Foundation - Past President of Board


B.S., Accounting, Ithaca College

Matthew D. Harrison is an Investment Manager responsible for Bentham’s San Francisco Bay Area operations. Prior to launching Bentham’s San Francisco office, Matt spent 15 years as a litigation associate and partner at Latham & Watkins, where his practice focused on representing clients in a wide variety of securities and M&A litigation matters, as well as complex commercial cases involving antitrust and competition, trade secrets, intellectual property, false advertising, and mass torts.

Matt earned his J.D. from the UCLA School of Law, where he was Editor of the UCLA Law Review, and graduated as a member of the Order of the Coif.  He received his B.A. degree in Business Administration from University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, with concentrations in finance and marketing. 

Tim Sherman has nearly twenty years of experience applying accounting, financial, and economic principles in various dispute and non-dispute contexts.  He has performed valuations, testified as an expert witness, calculated damages, and analyzed complex accounting issues in a variety of industries, including entertainment, technology, financial services, and aerospace.   He has managed large teams for litigation and investigation related projects.  Mr. Sherman’s work has involved writing expert reports pursuant to FRCP Rule 26, preparing complex damage schedules, assisting with discovery (e.g., document requests and depositions), and preparing for trial.  Mr. Sherman’s experience includes:

  • Investigating misstatements in publicly filed financial statements and determining the impact of misstatements on previously issued financial statements.
  • Calculating damages and identifying and interpreting accounting guidance related to inventory valuation in a dispute regarding the price paid in a business acquisition.
  • Evaluating auditor compliance with generally accepted auditing standards related to the recognition of fictitious revenues and cash balances.
  • Calculating lost profits and reasonable royalties in multiple patent infringement disputes.


  • B.A., Pomona College
  • M.B.A., the Stern School of Business at New York University

Professional Designations

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) - California
  • Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) - AICPA

As a partner in Glaser Weil’s Litigation Department, Michael Cypers focuses on complex financial cases. He is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried multiple cases dealing with civil securities, corporate, partnership, financing and fiduciary duty.

Mr. Cypers successful trial work on behalf of a private equity fund that rescinded investment contracts earned a “Top High Impact Verdict” in California distinction in 2010 by the Los Angeles Daily Journal. He has tried several disputes before juries involving financial statements, including a seven-month class action alleging $1 billion in damages that resulted in a defense verdict for Mr. Cypers’ client.

Based in Los Angeles for more than three decades, Mr. Cypers’ practice reaches across the nation and around the world. He successfully represented a private equity firm in its securing rights to solar energy projects in Canada; he represented a public pension in a dispute with a Wall Street securities firm and he represented the majority founders of a venture capital firm in separating from a minority founder. He has also litigated civil securities matters relating to Enron, Cendant, McKesson and Sprint.

Mr. Cypers was an adjunct professor of law at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley from 1997 until 2012, teaching seminars on securities litigation, corporate governance and advanced civil litigation.

With over 15 years of experience in public accounting, Dan Winter has served a variety of technology industries including software, SaaS, internet media, networking equipment, intellectual property, semiconductor and life sciences. Dan has extensive experience with equity and debt financing, including public offerings, business combinations, revenue recognition and SEC reporting and compliance. Dan spearheads the BPM’s Technology Industry Group and is the leader of the Assurance Technical Committee.

Dan holds an active CPA license in California.

Terry Lloyd, CPA, CFA is a financial analyst with a practice specializing in finance and accounting matters in tax, dispute, and transaction settings.  He is also an arbitrator for the AAA, FINRA, and under court appointment.  He is a CPA and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and has published widely, including portions of a law school text on accounting and has guest lectured for both law schools and graduate business schools.  Mr. Lloyd has been qualified as an expert on valuation, finance, accounting, and damages in courts, arbitration forums, and the International Court of Arbitration.  He once deposed another CPA. 

Mr. Lloyd’s work has taken him to Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America.  His clients include law and accounting firms, private equity investors, the SEC, and the IRS.

Mr. Lloyd holds a BA in accounting (magna cum laude) and an MBA in finance.  He is a shareholder in the consultancy Finance Scholars Group and was previously a partner with BDO Seidman and a managing director with the Huron Consulting Group.