What Lawyers Need to Know about Financial Statements: Understanding How Financial Statements Interact with Business and Legal Issues


CLE credits earned: 2 GENERAL (or 2 LAW & LEGAL for WA state)

Lawyers often have not taken accounting courses in law school or had intimate exposure to financial statements or what the terms and concepts mean. And even college exposure to accounting courses may not prepare you, as an attorney, to understand financial statements in a legal and business context. Understanding the information reflected on your client’s financial statements and reports will permit you to effectively discuss issues with client management and add value to your advice and guidance. The ability to understand financial statements is crucial for attorneys in all areas of practice serving all types of entities and clients. Please join Daniel Cotter as he covers what lawyers need to know about financial statements, an understanding that will permit you to understand how the financial statement interacts with business and legal issues, interact effectively with management and business units, ask better questions and provide more effective advice. Participants will also understand how the balance sheet, statement of cash flows and income statement interact.

Key topics to be discussed:

•   How to read a financial statement
•   What items on the balance sheet, income statement, and other key financial statements mean
•   How to navigate the narrative contained in public financial statements
•   How numbers can be traced from the various financial statements so that the lawyer can understand forensically how they work

Date / Time: February 19, 2020

•   2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern
•   1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central
•   12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Mountain
•   11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.

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Original Broadcast Date: September 11, 2019

Daniel Cotter, Esq. is a partner with Howard & Howard in Chicago, IL. Before returning to private practice in 2015, Dan served as the general counsel, vice president & secretary of Fidelity Life Association, a large insurance company based on Chicago. Dan has spent nearly 25 years of his legal career working with the insurance industry, where he has extensive experience handling transactional work, general regulatory and government relationships in multiple jurisdictions, and litigation and oversight, as well as privacy.

In addition to his extensive litigation, regulatory and transactional experience in the insurance industry, Dan’s practice has included work for a broad range of clients in the areas of corporate law, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate organizations, reorganizations, dissolutions and redomestications, corporate governance and compliance and cybersecurity and privacy issues. In addition, Dan has handled a wide array of commercial litigation cases, including insurance defense, complex business disputes and employment matters.

Dan successfully completed the CPA Examination in 1989, and worked as an accountant for 5.5 years, the last three while attending law school at night. He taught a course, Accounting for Lawyers, for several years at The John Marshall Law School.

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Section I. Background and Why Accounting and Business Acumen Important

Section II. How to read a financial statement

Section III. What the financial statement says about the business

Section IV. What items on the balance sheet, income statement, and other key financial statements mean

Section V. How to navigate the narrative contained in public financial statements

Section VI. How numbers can be traced from the various