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Financial Information Failure and Lawyer Responsibility

27 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2006 Last revised: 5 Jun 2012

Steven L. Schwarcz

Duke University School of Law


When public firms collapse amid allegations of financial information failure - such as misleading financial statements - society looks beyond the role of accountants to see who else should be held responsible. Lawyers advising the firm increasingly are charged with responsibility, perhaps because modern financial and business complexities, as well as rules that make accounting determinations turn in part on legal conclusions, have blurred the boundary between legal and accounting duties. Lawyers should want to satisfy this responsibility not only to avoid liability but also to safeguard their reputation and integrity. The difficult question, which this article attempts to answer, is what that responsibility should be.

JEL Classification: M41, M49, K22

Suggested Citation

Schwarcz, Steven L., Financial Information Failure and Lawyer Responsibility. Journal of Corporation Law, Vol. 31, No. 4, September 2006; Duke Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 106. Available at SSRN:

Steven Schwarcz (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

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