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Basics of Accounting for Lawyers 2015: What Every Practicing Lawyer Needs to Know

Author(s): Jeannie Y. Evans, Lawrence M. Cirelli, John J. Molenda, Curtis Burr, Colleen Vallen, Chetan Joshi
Practice Area: Accounting, Corporate & Securities, Litigation
Published: Jul 2015
ISBN: 9781402424649
PLI Item #: 58884
CHB Spine #: B2180

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).

Curtis has over 25 years of business valuation and litigation consulting experience. Industries served include wine/vineyard industry, financial services, real estate, professional service firms, wholesale and retail, alternative energy and manufacturing. He has performed forensic investigations in connection with partner and partnership disputes, shareholder disputes, damage analysis involving breach of fiduciary duty claims in securities litigation; calculation of economic damages and lost profits in cases involving misappropriation of trade secrets, product liability claims and wrongful termination cases. He has consulted on and testified in a broad of cases involving:

  • Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
  • Breach of fiduciary duty actions against investment advisors
  • Economic damages and earning loss
  • Actions against professionals
  • Construction claims and damages
  • Disputes arising out of Buy/Sell agreements
  • Business acquisitions and valuation
  • Personal injury and wrongful death claims
  • Solvency and fraudulent conveyance issues

Education & Professional Credentials

  • Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration—Golden Gate University
  • MBA/Taxation — Golden Gate University
  • BA/Accounting — Golden Gate University
  • Certified Public Accountant, licensed in 1978 in California
  • Certified in Financial Forensics in 2008 by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Professional Affiliations

  • Past Trustee and Chair — Board of Trustees, Golden Gate University
  • Board Chair — Rotary Foundation, San Francisco
  • Member Dean's Advisory Board — School of Accounting, and Golden Gate University
  • Co-Chair — PLI "Accounting for Lawyers"
  • Business Valuation instructor — Association of Insolvency Restructuring Advisors
  • Member — Association of Insolvency Restructuring Advisors
  • Member — American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • Member — California Society of CPAs (CalCPA)
  • Member — National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA)

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.


•  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.

Jeannie Evans is a seasoned trial lawyer and partner at Agrawal Evans LLP.  After beginning her career in securities litigation and other complex commercial litigation at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto and Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, Jeannie co-founded Agrawal Evans—a trial and appellate boutique firm headquartered in Chicago.  Jeannie represents leading U.S. corporations and professional firms, as well as their officers, directors, and partners, in high-stakes business disputes.  

Jeannie has successfully represented clients in multi-million and multi-billion dollar disputes in state and federal courts and arbitrations around the country. She brings broad experience in a variety of practice areas, including securities fraud, accounting fraud, shareholder disputes, government investigations, breach of contract, and bankruptcy litigation.  Jeannie regularly represents private equity firms, hedge fund managers and investors, and others in cases involving alleged financial misconduct.  She is particularly skilled at working with experts on cases with complex damages claims.

Prior Experience

Kirkland & Elllis LLP (Chicago)

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (Palo Alto)


Harvard Law School, J.D., 1997, cum laude
Executive Editor, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy
Federalist Society
Asia Law Society

Brigham Young University, B.A., Political Science, 1994 summa cum laude
University Honors
Ezra Taft Benson Scholar
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of International and Area Studies

Judicial Clerkships

Hon. Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, summer 1997

Hon. Susan Illston, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, summer 2003







Notable Wins:

  • Represented private equity company and its portfolio hospital company in a $250 million theft of trade secret and corporate opportunity suit in Texas state court. Successfully defended clients from potentially onerous temporary injunction provisions that could have crippled the hospital chain’s operations and growth plans.
  • Defended large public corporation and its officers and directors from securities fraud claims following the company’s financial restatement. Devised winning defense to Section 11 claim seeking over $200 million in damages, prompting an unexpectedly favorable settlement.
  • Represented holder of debtor’s senior debt in federal bankruptcy proceedings in Delaware. After fast-tracked discovery and an evidentiary hearing, obtained plan confirmation over all objections. Elicited key deposition admissions from adverse expert witness, which led to a voluntary withdrawal of the expert’s report and the chief objection to the plan.
  • Defended General Motors in a shareholder derivative suit seeking to unwind GM’s $3 billion acquisition of AmeriCredit Corp. Authored winning motion to dismiss, which allowed the merger to proceed without disruption and avoided costly, burdensome discovery.
  • Represented corporate client in a DOJ merger investigation. Collaborated with client to successfully respond to demands for information and to resolve DOJ concerns.
  • Represented Tessera Technologies in a patent infringement action before the U.S. International Trade Commission, against Texas Instruments and Sharp Corporation for importing semiconductor devices in “chip scale packages” that infringed Tessera’s patents. Following a favorable ITC determination, Sharp and Texas Instruments settled and agreed to pay royalties to client.
  • Represented the City of Chicago before the Illinois Appellate Court. Prevailed in defending the City’s home-rule authority to enforce its condominium ordinance in the face of conflicting state statutes.
  • Represented pro bono client seeking custody of her granddaughter in a child dependency court bench trial in California.  Against the odds, prevailed in achieving custody for grandmother in the face of contrary recommendations by social worker and state district attorney.  Following Jeannie’s effective cross-examination of the state’s two lead witnesses, the Court immediately excused the remaining witnesses and ruled in favor of Jeannie’s client from the bench.