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Basics of Accounting for Lawyers 2020: What Every Practicing Lawyer Needs to Know

Speaker(s): A. Christine Davis, Brent E. Johnson, Brett Kumm, Christopher A. Karachale, Dan Winter, Daniel H.R. Laguardia, Duane Campbell, Jessica Williams, Jonathan Carey, Lawrence M. Cirelli, Lesley E. Weaver, Lyndsey C. Heaton, Matthew S. Kahn, Michael E. Brodsky, Rachel B. Proffitt, Terry M. Lloyd, Tim Sherman, Todd Rahn
Recorded on: Jul. 21, 2020
PLI Program #: 279028

Brent E. Johnson is a partner in the Holland & Hart LLP Salt Lake City office. Brent counsels corporations in a variety of industries with matters concerning products liability,  false advertising, labeling and warnings, class actions, and regulatory issues involving the Food & Drug Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  He represents clients in litigation matters in both the federal and state courts.


A. Christine 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 28 years of experience, she provides calculations, analytical expertise, and expert testimony by deposition and at trial on matters involving commercial damages, complex accounting analyses, valuation methods and estimates, and financial disputes including allegations of fraud. She is regularly retained to conduct internal investigations involving accounting and financial reporting matters, financial improprieties, and fraud claims.

Chris is Founder and Shareholder of Financial Evidence Group, a California corporation. In addition to being a CPA in California, New York and Oregon, she holds credentials in business valuation and financial forensics, along with a blockchain certificate and an arbitrator certificate. 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 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 persuasively 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.

Christopher A. Karachale advises individuals and businesses on a range of tax planning and tax controversy matters at the federal, state, local, and international levels. He also serves as outside general counsel to a variety of companies, providing general corporate and related business guidance.

Christopher’s work on federal tax matters ranges from income tax controversies involving individuals and businesses to partnership structuring and corporate mergers and acquisitions. He regularly works with entrepreneurs and start-up companies, and is one of the leading practitioners on qualified small business stock and related section 1202 issues. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Bloomberg, and Business Insider on QSBS issues.

At the state level, in addition to income tax-related matters, Christopher counsels individuals and entities on issues involving California property and sales and use taxes. In the international context, he has extensive experience with voluntary disclosures and related planning matters, as well as in-bound and out-bound corporate structuring.

Christopher has published extensively, with articles appearing in Tax Notes, the California Business Law Practitioner, and Law360. He also is a frequent speaker on tax issues to audiences in the United States and abroad. Christopher is certified as a legal specialist in taxation law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.

Daniel Laguardia is a partner in the firm's Litigation practice and Head of the Bay Area Offices. He has represented individuals, corporations, and various financial institutions including banks, broker-dealers, hedge funds, mutual funds and private equity funds, in securities litigation, internal investigations, regulatory matters and complex commercial litigation.  He has extensive litigation experience across a broad spectrum of substantive areas, including securities and complex financial products, financial markets, mergers & acquisitions disputes, shareholder actions, distressed debt and bankruptcy issues, and commercial contracts, and he has achieved a strong record of success for clients in trial and appellate courts.

In addition to the representation of clients in all aspects of strategic litigation planning and practice, Mr. Laguardia regularly counsels clients on pre-dispute situation management, risk-control, high exposure transactions, compliance, and board governance issues.  He conducts internal investigations for clients and board committees and reviews and advises on corporate compliance provisions, governance structures, and controls.

Mr. Laguardia was a law clerk to Judge Anthony J. Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, from 1999 to 2000 and to Judge David G. Trager, U.S. District Court, E.D.N.Y., from 1998 to 1999.  He speaks frequently on matters of practice and ethics, has been repeatedly recognized by Benchmark Litigation, and is the former chair of the Committee on Securities Litigation of the New York City Bar.  He is also a past hiring partner for the Firm and co-chair of the Firm’s associate development committee.

Duane Campbell is a Senior Director at FTI Consulting and is based in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Duane uses his deep experience and background in forensic accounting and finance to assist his clients in dealing with complex and sensitive issues arising from internal and independent forensic accounting investigations, accounting restatements, business disputes, litigation and alternative dispute resolution involving, among other things, improper accounting, potential fraud, theft or misappropriation of funds. 

Duane’s industry experience includes financial services, insurance, media, consumer packaged goods, technology, telecommunications and the not-for-profit sector.  Duane has served as a trusted advisor in a forensic investigative capacity for a wide range of clients including the U.S Attorney’s Office, state regulatory bodies, boards of directors, executive management, and both internal and external counsel.

Duane holds an MBA from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a B.A. in economics and business administration from McDaniel College in Westminster Maryland. Duane is a CPA and also holds the CFA designation from the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Professional Affiliations
Member, Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFA Institute)

  • Education
    MBA, University of Maryland, Smith School of Business
  • B.A, Economics and Business Administration, McDaniel College

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.

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.

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.


Matthew S. Kahn is a partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. He practices in the firm’s Litigation Department, and is a member of the Law Firm Defense Group Steering Committee, the Securities Litigation Group, and the Class Actions Group.

Mr. Kahn’s practice focuses on securities and derivative litigation, class action defense and law firm defense.  Recognized by Law360 as a “Legal Lion,” he has experience at all phases of trial court litigation and arbitration, including several victories at trial.  Mr. Kahn has successfully represented companies, boards of directors, law firms, and individuals throughout the country in high-stakes matters in federal and state courts, involving claims, among others, under the Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934; breach of fiduciary duties and insider trading under Delaware, California, and New York law; legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and aiding and abetting tortious conduct; and California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act.  Mr. Kahn also has significant experience in the prosecution and defense of commercial and real estate contracts and business tort actions and regularly advises clients regarding complex information law matters in both federal and state jurisdictions.

Mr. Kahn regularly handles bet-the-company litigation and precedent-setting matters.  His depositions of former Secretary of State, Labor and Treasury George Shultz and whistleblower Tyler Shultz in litigation against Theranos Inc. and its founder Elizabeth Holmes are featured in the HBO documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley and ABC News’s The Dropout, an investigative podcast following the story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos.  He was selected as a Northern California “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine each year between 2012 and 2016 and a “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by The Recorder in 2013.

Mr. Kahn is a member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, the American Bar Association, and the Bar Association of San Francisco.  He also serves on the Executive Committees of the San Francisco Bar Association’s Litigation and Legal Malpractice Sections and as a Settlement Conference Officer for the San Francisco County Superior Court.  In the latter role, Mr. Kahn presides over mandatory settlement conferences in civil cases.

Mr. Kahn clerked for the Honorable Mary L. Cooper, United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey, from 2003 to 2004.  Mr. Kahn received his law degree, with distinction, from Stanford Law School in 2003.  He received his B.A. in political science with honors, from Swarthmore College in 1999, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was captain of the varsity wrestling team.

Mr. Kahn is an active provider of pro bono legal services, and he serves on Gibson Dunn’s Pro Bono Committee.  Mr. Kahn also serves on the Leadership Council of Tipping Point Community, which finds, funds and partners with the most promising direct-service non-profits working to educate, employ, house and support those in need in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Michael E. Brodsky is a managing director in Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP and has more than 20 years experience providing forensic accounting, investigative, auditing, and regulatory compliance consulting services. He has extensive experience in investigative, forensic, and regulatory compliance projects to the financial services industry working with a variety of clients in the investment management industry, including hedge funds, mutual funds, and private equity firms as well as serving several multi-national banks.

Michael also has participated in multiple trading-related operational/compliance projects as well as regulatory investigations involving Ponzi schemes, asset misappropriations, financial statement fraud, and potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). He is one of our leaders in Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory’s Investment Management practice and has written, presented, and spoken on fraud, corruption, and other risk and regulatory matters impacting the broader financial services industry.

Rachel B. Proffitt practices corporate and securities law and represents public and private clients, as well as venture capital and investment banking firms and other institutional investors, across a broad range of industries. Her practice focuses on general corporate and complex transactional matters, including venture capital transactions, public and private securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions, and public-company disclosure and corporate governance.

Prior to joining Cooley, Rachel was a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.


  • Recognized in the Start-Ups & Emerging Companies category of the 2017 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with commentators describing her as "phenomenal," "thorough" and "incredibly fast to respond," and observers noting that "she does well at balancing risk"
  • Recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Women Lawyers in California for 2015


  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law JD
  • Member, Hastings International and Comparative Law Review
  • Member, Hastings Security Law Society
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • BA, English, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, University Honors Program

Admissions & Credentials

  • California

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

Todd Rahn is the Bay Area Practice Leader of FTI’s SEC & Accounting Advisory practice bringing more than 23 years of audit, accounting and advisory experience to his Clients. He is often engaged by corporate clients on a variety of accounting advisory matters, including the application of US GAAP, IFRS, and auditing standards, operational topics around the structure and strategy of the finance organization, the evaluation of financing alternatives and related reporting, planning for and evaluating the impact and disclosure of transactions including the initial public offering process, the application and response to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations and investigations, financial restatements, and accounting litigation and disputes.

These projects have been in, as well as outside, the US covering multiple complex accounting topics including among others revenue recognition, business combinations, consolidation, cost allocation, impairment, stock-based compensation, and financial reporting disclosures. Mr. Rahn is engaged by counsel representing companies and board of director committees as an expert in accounting matters, purchase price disputes, internal investigations, government inquiries, and whistleblower allegations concerning accounting and financial reporting fraud and misappropriation of assets.

Prior to joining FTI Consulting, Mr. Rahn was a lead client service and signing partner at Deloitte providing consulting, accounting and auditing services to companies ranging from start-ups to large multinational businesses. He has extensive experience evaluating SEC reporting matters and the standards of the PCAOB. Mr. Rahn has focused his time in the technology, media and advertising, semiconductor & telecommunications industries, including related sectors in energy, life sciences and consumer business. He frequently addressed unique industry matters including the structure and accounting for customer relationships, billing practices, reporting of related costs, executive compensation, financing impacts, and underlying internal controls.

Mr. Rahn was also a Clearing Partner in Deloitte’s National Office where he focused his time on attest risk management, including potential fraud, investigative, or enforcement matters impacting clients. He developed policies governing cross border governance and controls, litigation, and contract compliance, often addressing the most difficult issues faced by Deloitte’s corporate clients. He also spent seven years, based out of New York and London, advising large corporations on the application of the SEC’s rules and regulations, US GAAP, IFRS, and local accounting standards in a multi-jurisdictional setting where more than one set of rules and regulations apply. 

Mr. Rahn is passionate about and has held leadership roles driving inclusion in finance and the development of sustainable environmental, social and governance practices, each an area that guide his work and path within his profession.

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.

Lyndsey C. Heaton is a partner in the Brand Integrity and Innovations Group, the Litigation and Appeals group, and the Intellectual Property group. Ms. Heaton specializes in high stakes intellectual property litigation involving, trade secrets, trademarks, unfair competition, copyrights, patents, counterfeiting, and intellectual property theft. She also has a broad range of experience prosecuting and defending complex, commercial litigation. She has tried both bench and jury cases in the state and federal courts of California and New York and has handled appeals to the Ninth and Second Circuits.

Ms. Heaton counsels clients on strategies to protect their brands through unique and effective enforcement mechanisms. Ms. Heaton’s work focuses on trademark infringement, the sale of counterfeit goods, and employee frauds. Ms. Heaton has experience working with clients across all industries including: enterprise technology, networking, consumer electronics, wearable technology, internet service providers, textile manufacturing, industrial manufacturing, securities, and financial payments technology.

Prior to joining Sideman & Bancroft, Ms. Heaton was an associate at Hosie Rice LLP and Morgan Lewis and Bockius LLP, in San Francisco, where she concentrated on complex commercial and intellectual property litigation. While at Morgan Lewis, Ms. Heaton was a key member of a trial team that succeeded in obtaining a $70 million judgment for her client, one of the top 10 jury verdicts in California for 2016.

Ms. Heaton earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and then graduated from Columbia University School of Law, where she served as an editor for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. While in law school, Ms. Heaton also served as a judicial extern for the Hon. Elizabeth S. Stong, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Bankruptcy Court.

Ms. Heaton is admitted to practice in California and New York.

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.