Where Were the Counselors? Reflections on Advice Not Given and the Role of Attorneys in the Accounting Crisis

William O. Fisher, Where Were the Counselors? Reflections on Advice Not Given and the Role of Attorneys in the Accounting Crisis, 39 Gonz. L. Rev. 29 (2004).

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Today’s reports of corporate villainy invite these questions: Restricting ourselves to what the profession knew in the last days of the late 1990s soaring stock market, what advice might attorneys have given–about the temptations of deceptive accounting and the defenses to erect against it–to young executives who were taking their companies public then? And, if attorneys did not always give that counsel in fulsome form, why was that so? What forces worked on lawyers to deter that advice? What does all this suggest for counseling today?

To help us answer these questions, we begin with two scenes. We return to them later for contrasts…. Read More

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