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Pocket MBA 2019: Finance for Lawyers and Other Professionals

Speaker(s): A. Christine Davis, Alexis S. Coll-Very, Amir Agam, Bryan Ketroser, Dan Werner, Ph.D., Greg Halm, Greg J. Regan, Jennifer J. Carlson, Jeremy M. Weitz, Josette C. Ferrer, Lesley E. Weaver, Magnus Karlberg, Marvin G. Padilla, Paul T. Llewellyn, Rajay Desai, Scott Boylan, Stephanie N. Figueroa, Xavier Oustalniol
Recorded on: Sep. 23, 2019
PLI Program #: 253244

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.

Alexis Coll-Very is a Litigation Partner in the Firm’s Palo Alto office, focusing on government and internal investigations, shareholder litigation and complex commercial disputes. In 2015, she was named by The Daily Journal as a "Top Woman Litigator in California," and from 2014-2016 she has been recognized by the publication as one of the “Top Women Lawyers,” which recognizes the legal achievements of women in the state of California. In 2011, the Silicon Valley Business Journal honored her as a Woman of Influence. In 2013, The Recorder recognized Alexis as one of its Women Leaders in Technology Law.

Alexis regularly advises both publicly and privately held companies who are confronted with allegations of wrongdoing. She regularly conducts internal investigations for management and boards of directors (including audit and other board committees), and represents these clients in any associated proceedings before federal, state and industry regulators. She also defends companies in shareholder litigation, including federal and state securities claims and derivative claims.  In recent years, her practice has increasingly focused on Asia and Alexis spends a significant amount of time in our Hong Kong and Beijing offices.

Alexis routinely handles civil rights lawsuits for various pro bono clients, at trial and on appeal, in the state and federal courts of California.  She was honored by the ACLU of Southern California with the Reproductive Justice Award 2015. Alexis serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Legal Momentum – The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund. She began practicing law in Simpson Thacher’s New York office in 1995 and joined its Palo Alto office in 2000. She received her A.B., cum laude, from Duke University in 1992 and her J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School in 1995. She is admitted to practice in the state and federal district courts of California and New York, the Ninth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Amir Agam is a Senior Managing Director in the Corporate Finance & Restructuring practice at FTI Consulting. Mr. Agam has more than 20 years of experience in advising companies that are undergoing significant transitions, as well as serving in interim management positions such as interim Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) and Chief Restructuring Officer (“CRO”). He has industry expertise in a diverse group of industries including media and entertainment, retail, grocery, consumer products, manufacturing and distribution, education, and financial institutions.  Mr. Agam also advises other key stakeholders including debt and equity holdings in similar situations.

Mr. Agam’s experience includes advising on complex restructuring and turnaround situations in out-of-court restructurings and in formal bankruptcy proceedings.  Specific areas of Mr. Agam’s experience also includes business plan development and review, cash flow forecasting, liquidity management, development of accounting and finance function capabilities, identification and implementation of cost reductions, negotiation restructuring plans, bankruptcy planning and execution, obtaining financing, business and asset sales, and maintaining operations during transitions. 

Representative recent engagements that Mr. Agam has worked on include serving as the Chief Restructuring Officer of Open Road Films and Fresh & Easy, interim Chief Financial Officer for a sports events company and a television production company (both non-distressed) and serving as financial advisor during the restructurings of THQ, Inc., Fleetwood Enterprises, Corinthian Colleges, and a number of non-public situations.

Mr. Agam holds a B.A. with honors in business economics with a minor in accounting from the University of California, Los Angeles and an M.B.A. with honors from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Certified Turnaround Professional and a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor. He is also a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors, the Turnaround Management Association and the Financial Lawyers Conference. Mr. Agam was recognized as one of M&A Advisor’s 40 under 40 Emerging Leaders in the Service Professional category.

Dr. Dan Werner is a CPA and Senior Consultant in NERA’s Intellectual Property Practice, where he provides economic, financial, and statistical analysis to support complex litigation. Dr. Werner has applied his expertise to matters involving economic damages, class certification, and valuation, among other areas. His has also provided expert witness testimony in cases involving allegations of false advertising, lost profits, lost wages, and fraud.

Dr. Werner’s consulting experience includes analyzing economic issues related to consumer fraud and false advertising, asset valuation, risk, business valuation, lost wages, financial liquidity and solvency, and anti-competitive behavior, among others. Dr. Werner has performed rigorous quantitative analysis in a wide range of industries, including consumer retail products, technology, energy and mining, agricultural and food processing, and real estate, among others.

Prior to joining NERA, Dr. Werner served as an economist at a boutique consulting firm in the San Francisco bay area and analyzed financial data while working at a Big 4 accounting firm. Dr. Werner has also conducted empirical academic research in the fields of applied microeconomics, presenting his work at several academic conferences and serving as a peer review referee for academic journal publications.

Greg Halm specializes in providing forensic accounting, and financial and economic consulting services related to complex commercial disputes. Mr. Halm has consulted on numerous damages analysis engagements and has provided expert testimony on damages in Federal District Court. Mr. Halm has consulted on numerous disputes related to the consumer lending industry and on other financial consulting and forensic accounting engagements involving, among other things, the valuation of businesses and ownership interests, the analysis of business models and structures, forensic analysis of complex transactions, reconstruction of financial statements, and analysis of financial models.

Greg Regan is the current Chair of the California Society of CPAs Forensic Services Section. He has served on the America Institute of CPAs Forensic & Valuation Services Executive Committee. Greg has testified numerous times in federal and state courts as well as in arbitrations regarding financial statement disputes. He has been an accounting expert for the Securities & Exchange Commission, the California Attorney General, and the California Board of Accountancy.

Jeremy Weitz is a Shareholder and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Corporate Practice Group. Mr. Weitz’s expertise covers mergers and acquisitions, private equity, publicly and privately traded securities, corporate maintenance and formation, corporate finance, and licensing. He represents clients in a variety of industries, including apparel, retail, beauty, food, entertainment, computer software, e-commerce, aerospace and defense, manufacturing, and investment banking that range in size from small start-ups to multi-billion dollar publicly traded corporations. Mr. Weitz routinely serves as outside general counsel for his corporate clients.

Mr. Weitz represents both buyers and sellers in merger and acquisition transactions. Mr. Weitz’s mergers and acquisitions practice is focused on the middle market with transaction values ranging between $10 million up to $3 billion.

Mr. Weitz routinely lectures on mergers and acquisitions and the apparel industry. He has also served as a faculty lecturer for the Practising Law Institute where he has lectured on mergers and acquisitions and financing transactions.

Mr. Weitz is also Co-Chair of the Firm’s Consumer Products’ Industry Practice Group and former Chair of the Firm’s Apparel Industry Practice Group. Mr. Weitz’s apparel industry practice includes representation of manufacturers, importers and retailers. His experience in the apparel industry includes mergers and acquisitions, finance, commercial law, financial and business planning, licensing, copyright and trademark matters and corporate law.

In the community, Mr. Weitz is the former President and current Board Member of the Apparel Industries Group for the City of Hope. He has also served as both Dinner Chair and Fundraising Chair for this group. Mr. Weitz is also a past President and board member of The Professionals Club (formerly, the Textile Professionals Club or TPC) which is a networking group for professionals from a wide range of business backgrounds, including accountants, investment bankers, commercial bankers, lawyers, property agents and developers, financial advisors, and other professionals who serve the local business community.

Mr. Weitz was selected as one of Southern California’s Super Lawyers from 2018 – 2019 and was also selected as a Southern California Rising Star from 2006 – 2008, 2013.

Josette Ferrer is the founder and a Managing Director of Clairent Advisors. Since 1993, Josette has been assisting clients with the valuation of closely held businesses and business interests, intangible assets, intellectual property, equity grants, debt instruments, capital equipment/fixed assets, and other assets.

Prior to founding Clairent Advisors, Josette was the U.S. Practice Leader of Marsh’s Valuation Services Group (formerly Kroll’s Valuation Services Practice). Her career includes serving as the Managing Director in charge of the San Francisco Valuation Services Group of WTAS, Inc. (now operating as Andersen). Prior to WTAS, Josette was a Director with Huron Consulting Group and a Senior Manager at Arthur Andersen LLP.

While Josette has extensive experience serving clients in many industries, areas of specialty include high technology, service companies, consumer products, manufacturing, financial services, and telecommunications. Her clients have ranged from small, emerging businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Josette has been a guest speaker for a wide variety of forums, including Financial Executives International, the Institute of Management Accountants, CalCPA, the American Society of Appraisers, and the San Francisco and Contra Costa Bar Associations.

Lesley Weaver is a partner at Bleichmar Fonti & Auld LLP, where she focuses on Antitrust and Consumer Litigation Practice. Lesley has substantial leadership experience litigating complex antitrust and consumer-oriented class litigation and has been appointed to leadership positions in some of the largest class actions in the country.

Lesley currently serves as co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in In re Facebook, Inc. Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, a case seeking redress for Facebook users in the U.S and U.K. whose content specifically marked private was shared with thousands of third parties with no oversight and for the purpose of creating revenue for Facebook only. Lesley also serves as interim Co-Lead Counsel in In re Inductors Antitrust Litigation, representing a class of purchasers of inductors, a passive electronic component that is a key element of electronic circuits found in smart phones, laptops, computers, and other consumer electronic devices.

In 2015, Lesley was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel.” Lesley’s leadership position in the Volkswagen litigation included spearheading the investigation that ultimately uncovered German auto supplier Robert Bosch GmbH’s significant role in multiple schemes to place software in vehicles purposely designed to evade emissions laws. Plaintiffs in the Volkswagen litigation have recovered more than $17 billion for class members and nearly $5 billion for the environment, the largest automotive class action recovery ever.

In addition, Lesley has extensive experience representing sophisticated institutional investors in landmark securities actions. Some of those cases include In re Marsh & McLennan Cos., Inc. Securities Litigation ($400 million settlement); In re Cavanaugh Securities Litigation (including an appeal to the Ninth Circuit concerning the method of selecting lead plaintiff and lead counsel after the enactment of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (“PSLRA”)); In re Cardinal Health Inc. Securities Litigation ($600 million settlement); and In re Cisco Systems, Inc. Securities Litigation ($99 million settlement).

In 2018, Lesley was honored as a “California Lawyer of the Year” (“CLAY”) for 2018 for her work in In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation and was recognized as a “Plaintiff Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal (2018). In 2017 and 2018, she was named a “Super Lawyer” in the field of Class Action & Mass Torts Attorneys.

Lesley holds degrees from the University of Bonn (Germany) and Harvard College, and received a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School (1997). She is admitted to practice in the federal district courts of California, the Eastern District of Michigan, and the Ninth Circuit.


Magnus Karlberg is a partner in Mayer Brown LLP’s Corporate & Securities department in San Francisco where he focuses on U.S. and cross-border mergers, acquisitions, buyouts, investments, divestitures, joint ventures and similar strategic partnerships as well as other corporate and securities law matters.  Magnus advises clients worldwide in a wide range of industries, including technology, life science & pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and banking & insurance.

Magnus has been a secondee with the M&A departments of Nestlé S.A. in Switzerland and MetLife Inc. in New York.

Magnus is a guest lecturer at Fordham Law School and Gothenburg University Law School on mergers and acquisitions and private equity matters.

Marvin Padilla is the Head of Apparel & Retail at Intrepid. He has more than 17 years of experience advising entrepreneurs and middle-market companies on mergers and acquisitions transactions and other corporate finance activities. He has led transactions in a variety of industries including apparel, footwear, beauty and personal care, branded consumer products, plastics packaging, and automotive aftermarket products.

Prior to joining Intrepid, Marvin worked at the Sage Group, where he executed advisory assignments for clients in a variety of branded consumer market segments, with a particular focus on the apparel and personal care sector. Prior to joining Sage, he worked in the Los Angeles office of UBS Investment Bank, where he focused on M&A and restructuring transactions for companies in diverse industries. Previously, he was an investment banker in New York, where he worked for Salomon Smith Barney and, subsequently, Thomas Weisel Partners.

Marvin is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and served as an infantry sergeant in Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his free time, he loves to adventure and explore, from the beaches and rain forests of Costa Rica to the Red Fort in Old Delhi, as well as local hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Paul Llewellyn is an experienced civil litigator and trial lawyer.  He was named by the Daily Journal as one of the top 40 lawyers in California under the age of 40, a group which, according to the selection panel, represents some of the best legal talent in the world.  Benchmark Litigation, the definitive guide to America’s leading litigation firms and attorneys, has named Paul as a California Litigation Star, a recognition reserved for the State’s top litigators.  The National Law Journal, one of the country’s leading legal publications, named Paul as an Elite Boutique Trailblazer, one of just 23 attorneys selected throughout the entire country.  And based on peer review and recognition, SuperLawyers named him as one of the top 100 attorneys in Northern California.

After earning his law degree from Oxford University, England, and after learning the art of advocacy at the Inns of Court School of Law in Temple, London, Paul honed his trial skills as a barrister, trying approximately one hundred cases to verdict as prosecuting counsel for the Crown.  After moving to California in 2001, Paul practiced at an elite Los Angeles litigation boutique—which twice won the highest verdict in California—and Latham & Watkins LLP, one of the world’s premier international law firms.

This unique background and experience make Paul a highly sought-after litigator.  Clients in search of aggressive and effective representation turn to Paul again and again to resolve their most complex and sensitive legal issues, ranging from discrete issues and disputes to bet the company litigation.  He has secured recoveries of millions of dollars on behalf of plaintiffs, as well as significant defense victories.  And virtually unique among litigators and trial lawyers, Paul splits his practice approximately 50-50 on the plaintiff and defense side.

In addition to his business litigation practice, Paul has also earned a reputation as one of the country’s leading practitioners pursuing civil lawsuits on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse, including childhood sexual abuse.  In this field, he has obtained numerous multi-million-dollar recoveries on behalf of his clients, often overcoming significant statute of limitations hurdles.  These lawsuits have garnered both national and worldwide media attention, helping to bring about institutional change and raise community awareness, ultimately reducing the opportunity for future instances of sexual abuse.

Paul is a frequent speaker, lecturing regularly on all aspects of litigation practice and procedure.  He has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he taught legal research and writing, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the British American Business Council and British Benevolent Society.  Paul remains a “door tenant” at his former barristers’ chambers in London, the equivalent to “of counsel” in the U.S. and remains qualified to practice law in England and Wales, as well as in California.

Scott Boylan, a Senior Adviser with StoneTurn, has more than 30 years of experience in advising public- and private-sector organizations on a broad range of international legal and business issues, including trade compliance, investment security and government contracting. He has been involved in all aspects of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), from negotiating mitigation agreements for the government, sellers and buyers to establishing and leading compliance protocols for mitigated companies.

Prior to joining StoneTurn, Scott served as Chief Legal Officer for large, CFIUS-mitigated companies in the industrial security sector. He also held leadership positions in several government agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Treasury and Justice (DOJ). At DHS, Scott was responsible for developing and implementing the CFIUS process at the department’s inception. He participated in the negotiation of mitigation agreements and withdrawals in some of the most significant deals during his tenure advising the Secretary of Homeland Security.

In the private sector, Scott structured CFIUS strategy and transactions for a Fortune 50 corporation.  Scott was primarily responsible for company compliance with CFIUS and foreign ownership, control, or influence (FOCI) mitigation agreements for multiple businesses where he served as general counsel. His strategy for compliance with CFIUS mitigation agreements was leveraged as a customer-facing marketing program that led to growth. In addition, during Scott’s leadership, the company was recognized as a leader in industrial security by the U.S. government.

In addition to his in-depth knowledge of international trade compliance, Scott brings significant expertise in government contracting, having litigated agreements on behalf of the federal government. He has also advised businesses on government contracting strategy and compliance both as in-house counsel and in private practice.

Stephanie N. Figueroa is a Program Attorney focusing on Corporate and Business Law related programs. Stephanie joins PLI from Kobre & Kim LLP, where she was the Senior Manager of Training & Development. She began her legal career at Borah, Goldstein, Altschuler, Nahins & Goidel P.C. before going in house as Associate General Counsel of Energy Intelligence Group, Inc. Stephanie obtained a B.A. in Political Science at SUNY Binghamton, and a J.D. from New York Law School, where she was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Information Law & Policy. Stephanie is admitted to practice law in the State of New York.


Xavier Oustalniol is a Partner with StoneTurn in San Francisco. He focuses on complex forensic accounting issues, fraud investigations and prevention, and anti-corruption matters, and provides consulting services regarding damages analysis, securities class action litigations, arbitrations, accountant malpractice and purchase price disputes, including providing expert testimony.

With over 25 years of experience as an auditor, forensic accountant and litigation consultant, Xavier has worked with clients across a wide range of industries, including FinTech, banks (mortgage, retail, investment), insurance companies, investment companies, and other securities broker / dealers, as well as automotive, aviation, real estate, technology, energy, food, luxury apparel, chemicals, electronic components, gaming, telecom, broadcasting, professional services partnerships (including law firms), leasing, consumer products, agricultural business, manufacturing and transportation. Xavier has also assisted clients including the government and public defenders dealing with Ponzi scheme issues, False Claims Act and Qui Tam cases.

Xavier has testified as an accounting expert on the application of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and other financial issues at trial, deposition and in arbitrations. He has authored expert reports, declarations and assisted with the preparation of experts for deposition and testimony. He also assisted counsel with deposition preparation of opposing experts and fact witnesses, and responses to Wells submissions.

He has assisted clients (debtors, creditors, trustees) in a number of bankruptcy-related litigations (including Enron, Lehman, Washington Mutual) and other accounting investigations, including during settlement negotiations and mediation.

Xavier has directed complex forensic accounting investigations for boards where regulators such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) were involved. He consulted on other cross-border disputes before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), involving companies in Europe, South and Central America and Japan.

Prior to joining StoneTurn, Xavier was with Alvarez & Marsal, where he served as a Managing Director in the firm’s Global Forensic and Dispute Services practice in San Francisco. Previously, he was with two other global professional services firms. He began his career as an auditor with Deloitte.

Xavier is a Certified Public Accountant (licensed in California and New York), Certified in Financial Forensics and a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor. He is fluent in French.

As comfortable arguing to a jury as he is to an appellate panel, Bryan Ketroser concentrates his practice on securities litigation, complex commercial litigation and SEC investigations.  He represents technology companies, entrepreneurs, officers, directors, employees and shareholders in high-stakes matters in California, Delaware and other courts throughout the U.S.

Prior to joining Alto Litigation, Bryan was an associate in the litigation group of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and served as an Assistant District Attorney for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Benchmark Litigation has recognized Bryan as a 2021 California Litigation Star and, before that, repeatedly included him in its “40 & Under Hot List.”  Bryan also has been selected to Super Lawyers for 2020 and 2021.


  • Yale Law School, (J.D., 2005)
    Senior Editor, Yale Law Journal
    Submissions Editor, Yale Law & Policy Review
  • Brandeis University (B.A., summa cum laude, 2002)
    East Asian Studies

Practice Areas

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Securities Litigation
  • SEC Investigations

Recent Publications

  • “10 Pitfalls For Shareholder Derivative Litigations,” Law360, November 16, 2018
  • “Demand Futility in the 9th Circuit,” Daily Journal, November 14, 2018

Professional Associations & Activities

  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Admissions:  Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and California’s federal district courts

Rajay is a Managing Director in the West Coast Investment Management group with over 13 years of experience. Rajay has served large public and private clients in the asset management and securities industries.  Rajay has extensive experience auditing investment funds, including mutual funds, business development companies, hedge funds, fund of funds, private equity and venture capital funds.

Rajay spent three years in Deloitte’s New York City office before transferring to San Francisco and serves as a leader in the Bay Area Investment Management Group.

Education & Certifications

  • Bachelor of Science – CPA Accounting and Finance; Minor: Mathematics
  • New York University
  • Certified Public Accountant (California)

Jen Carlson is a Corporate & Securities partner in Mayer Brown’s Northern California offices. She represents companies, investors, and underwriters in a wide variety of capital markets and finance transactions, including initial public, follow-on, and secondary equity offerings; investment grade, high yield, and convertible debt offerings; venture capital investments; and liability management transactions. Jen also represents buyers and sellers in tender offers, private equity investments, mergers and acquisitions, and other strategic transactions. In addition to her transactional practice, Jen counsels companies in securities law compliance, stock exchange listing requirements, fiduciary duties, and corporate governance matters.

Jen represents publicly-traded and private companies, as well as the institutions and individuals that finance them, across a wide range of industries, including Financial Services; Technology; Life Sciences; Insurance; Real Estate; Energy; Retail; and Hospitality and Leisure.

Before entering the legal profession, Jen had a career in the fields of biochemistry and genetics at Indiana University-Bloomington and Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon, with published research in protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions.

Jen is named as a “Rising Star” in equity and debt capital markets by IFLR1000Legal500 has also recommended Jen in each of its capital markets categories: equity offerings, debt offerings, global offerings, and high yield debt offerings.