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Practice Overview

Professional Liability

Cravath has extensive experience representing accounting firms, investment banks, law firms, consulting firms, actuaries and other professionals in litigation, investigations and regulatory enforcement matters. We defend professionals in third‑party actions such as those brought by investors, as well as in direct suits brought by clients or former clients of those professionals, including trustees, regulators, receivers or liquidators of insolvent companies standing in the shoes of clients. These lawsuits often involve claims of professional malpractice, breach of contract, fraud, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty and other federal and state law causes of action. We have helped create important precedent on issues of particular relevance to professionals, such as the application of the imputation and in pari delicto doctrines and auditor liability under the federal securities laws.

Cravath’s ability to handle in an effective way a wide range of matters affecting professionals is based on our expertise in complex commercial litigation at all stages of a case, from a motion to dismiss through discovery to trial and appeals. Our success in defending professionals also comes from our understanding of our clients’ businesses and the nature of their work. For example, as long-time counsel to two of the “Big Four” accounting firms, our lawyers have a thorough knowledge of the audit process, understand how to explain accounting and auditing standards in a courtroom and have developed litigation strategies for issues that frequently arise in accountants’ liability litigation. (See also Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense; Securities Litigation)