Professional Liability: Accountants

Professional Liability: Accountants

The legal and regulatory framework of the accounting profession is continuously evolving, a trend that has led to an increase in liability exposure for both accountants and accounting firms. Given this, our team provides comprehensive legal counsel to assist accounting professionals in mitigating their risk and defending those that face liability claims.

Attorneys have successfully represented accountants and accounting firms in matters including:

  • Professional liability/malpractice claims
  • Disciplinary and enforcement actions brought by the SEC, state licensing authorities
  • Risk management
  • Partnership agreements
  • Matters pertaining to partners leaving their firms
  • Licensing and compliance

Having multidisciplinary backgrounds in accounting and the law, our Professional Liability attorneys have the fluency to communicate technical accounting and auditing principles to judges and juries as well as translate the law to their clients. Attorneys are industry thought leaders, having held leadership positions on regulatory boards such as the Florida Board of Accountancy and the American Institute of CPA’s Auditing Standards Board.

Florida Community Association

Becker grew out of its pioneering role creating the law pertaining to the operation of common ownership housing. Many of the leading cases in the field bear the firm’s name. Our attorneys are recognized as individual leaders in the field through published works, public service, legislative activities, and industry group leadership positions. Several attorneys are members of the prestigious College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). In Florida, Becker has the largest, dedicated team of Board Certified attorneys in Condominium and Planned Development Law among any firm in the state.

The attorneys in the Community Association Law Practice Group cover the entire spectrum of legal counseling of condominium, cooperative, time shares and homeowners’ associations. In addition, the practice group provides counseling to country clubs, master associations and owners’ ad hoc committees. Each attorney plays an integral part in their client’s professional team – assisting the Board and management prepare for and conduct meetings, answering questions about documents and the pertinent law, enforcing the covenants and restrictions, and drafting and negotiating contracts for the provision of services.

Each client is assigned a Community Association attorney who is primarily responsible for providing legal counsel to the officers and directors, as well as the manager, on the operation of the association. The association’s attorney also serves as a liaison between the client and other attorneys in the firm to ensure that all the association’s legal needs are being met by attorneys who practice exclusively in those specialized areas.

New Jersey Community Association

Our entire Morristown team is specifically tailored to meet the needs of our community association clients. From the nearly 70 years of combined experience and thought leadership of our NJ practice group leaders to our robust litigation practice and collection group, our interdisciplinary team of professionals is dedicated to delivering high touch service to our clients.

We understand that the retention of a law firm is a challenging task and that prospective clients not only value quality representation but also, availability, efficiency, responsiveness and transparency.

This is especially true in community associations where you, the members of the Board, volunteer your time and effort for the betterment of your respective communities. Thus, we have developed an interdisciplinary team that will not only meet your general counsel needs, but address transition-related issues including complex construction defect litigation, provide general litigation support, and assist you with the collection of delinquent accounts.

Our approach to the law is dynamic: our professionals are innovating in the field, by participating on state and national legislative action committees, including participation with the chief sponsor of the “Radburn Election Law” – one of the most important pieces of legislation impacting community associations in the past two decades. It is this holistic approach to servicing our clients that differentiates us from our peers.

Additional Resources

BeckerNorth: New York & New Jersey is powered by Becker & Poliakoff, LLP, a multi-practice commercial law firm with attorneys, lobbyists and other professionals at offices throughout the East Coast. Founded in 1973, our attorneys have always been pioneers, boldly breaking new ground and taking unconventional approaches to tough legal challenges. View More.

New Jersey Condo Blog View Becker’s New Jersey Condo Blog to get the latest in news, commentary and insight on NJ’s always changing world of community associations. Learn and participate in the latest about governance issues and construction litigation. View More.

Trademarking & Logo Creation

Having your community’s name associated with a certain quality of lifestyle goes a long way towards promoting your real property values and keeping you competitive in the real estate marketplace. Trademarking your community’s name (and logo) can also serve two important functions: (a) you can prevent bad actors from using your community’s name and/or logo to create confusion or mischief online and in print and (b) you can license your community’s trademark to valued local businesses and entities as a means to supplement your association’s revenues.

Your community’s brand and how you are perceived in the marketplace is essential. Many developers rely upon name recognition and a stylish logo to attract attention from potential buyers – spending considerable effort and money to build a certain mystique around the community’s name and look. But, they often overlook the critical need to protect that name and logo by registering a trademark. There is no reason, however, that your board cannot take this crucial step. Registering your community’s name and logo as trademarks in Florida protects you against local businesses and neighboring communities trading on your good name. Owning your name and logo also allows the board to prevent anyone intent on setting up a shadow website or other online presence as a way to harass or harm the association.

If your community association has taken the time to thoughtfully create a memorable brand, it only makes sense to protect that investment. If you’ve never thought about the need to brand and protect your community’s name, perhaps now is the time to consider doing so. Our team will guide you through the process of registering your association’s name and logo, and can also design a logo for you in the event your association doesn’t already have one.

Early Learning Advisory Services

Becker attorneys offer a unique approach to this practice area, providing clients with access to legal know-how and experience in understanding how government impacts the child care industry.  In addition, Becker has significant experience in other complimentary practice areas such as corporate, real estate, employment, and general business litigation to assist our clients.

Clients benefit from a team of experienced and highly successful attorneys with a proven track record in challenging health and safety violations.  Becker understands the financial implications that a health and safety violation can have when carrying the state’s Gold Seal designation, contracting for school readiness, or voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK) services.  We stand ready to assist you.

As a client, you receive the following benefits:

  • Consultation for any pending or anticipated violations
  • Risk management tips on how to avoid violations
  • Thought leadership on child care best practices
  • Courses for in-service hours on health and safety standards
  • Updates on pending legislation that could impact your business
  • Monitoring and updates on pending rules that impact your business
  • Lobbying services in Tallahassee as directed by the Child Care Practice Group Advisory Council
  • Potential discounts on hourly rates when challenging health and safety violations or other legal matters that impact your business

Ellyn Bogdanoff and Mark Stempler serve as co-leaders of Becker’s Early Learning Advisory Services Practice. With over 30 years of experience in the education field, Ellyn first served as a political activist, state representative, state senator, and lobbyist, and then as the executive director, general counsel, and lead lobbyist for a statewide association of child care centers.  Her experience is unparalleled and she brings a wealth of knowledge in a complex field that must navigate numerous laws and rules of various government agencies and jurisdictions.

As a seasoned litigator, Mark has an impressive track record when challenging government agencies.  Not only has he won multimillion dollar awards for his large corporate clients, he has also successfully challenged numerous health and safety violations for the owners of child care centers throughout Florida.

Title Insurance Defense

Representing some of the nation’s largest and most respected title insurance companies, Becker is adept at efficiently and effectively resolving our client’s most complex title disputes.

Becker attorneys defend title insurance companies, their agents, and their insureds in all aspects of title claim issues including mortgage fraud, lien and mortgage priority disputes, bad faith claims, bankruptcy proceedings, and title agent due diligence. Additionally, attorneys routinely counsel clients on matters involving the interpretation of insurance policies and various other coverage issues.

Our Title Insurance Defense practice is complimented by our diverse team of real estate transactional, financial services, and litigation attorneys, as well as by the firm’s affiliated title company, Association Title Services (ATS).

Financial Services

Attuned to the intricacies of the financial industry and the numerous legal risks lenders face, our team is deeply experienced in structuring highly-complex transactions and defending the rights of our financial services clients in state and federal courts.

Representing some of the most respected financial institutions globally, our attorneys handle a diverse array of transactions including in such areas as secured lending, asset based lending, commercial finance, debt restructuring, sales and lease transactions, negotiable instruments, letters of credit, documents of title, and real estate secured transactions.

In addition, Becker defends clients in disputes ranging from loan workout, receivership, and lender liability actions to restructurings, mortgage insurance disputes, and regulatory enforcement actions.

Well-known as thought leaders in the financial services industry, attorneys serve in leadership positions and are frequently called upon to speak to industry trade groups and legal organizations such as the American College of Commercial Finance Attorneys, Commercial Finance Association, New York Institute of Credit, Turnaround Management Association, and the Risk Management Association, among others.

Representative Experience:

  • Representation of lender in an approximately $20 million asset based loan to a supplier of complex metal components and products serving the aerospace, power, and general industrial markets. Led the negotiation of a sale of several subsidiaries of the borrower and coordination of a stock purchase where the purchase price was allocated to pay down the asset based loan in part and also toward several negotiated expenses relating to the sale.
  • Representation of lender in a $17 million asset based loan and $6 million industrial development bond mortgage loan to a manufacturer of food service equipment and supplies. Led negotiations involved retiring of industrial development facility, restructure of asset based loan and cross collateralization with real estate loan.
  • Representation of lender in a $13 million asset based loan to a public company and leader in the beverage category. Led negotiations with multiple warehouses involving warehouse liens and intercreditor agreements with private hedge fund which had advanced $17 million in mezzanine debt.
  • Representation of major commercial bank in a multimillion defaulted loan where borrower was a tenant of a large complex which itself was undergoing a restructure and where the owner/landlord needed tenant’s obligation to be resolved satisfactorily in order to induce its lender to restructure its loan.
  • Representation of finance company as lender in an ongoing asset based facility, amended ten times to a construction material provider. The tenth amendment involved negotiations with a public company guarantor for its acquisition of privately-held subsidiary which had previously advanced funds to the borrower.

Trust & Fiduciary

Trustees and other fiduciaries often face litigation by beneficiaries and others who allege breach of fiduciary duty. Becker represents corporate, institutional, and individual clients in disputes related to wills, trusts, estates and fiduciary issues. We also have experience representing fiduciaries, including banks and trust companies in their trust and probate disputes.

We have a comprehensive understanding of how fiduciary disputes emerge having represented clients in all types of trust and estate litigation, breaches of fiduciary duty, including improper asset management, self-dealing, conflicts of interest, improper administration and distributions, reformation of instruments, elder abuse, and removal of fiduciaries, contests on the grounds of undue influence, lack of capacity, fraud, duress and forgery.

Data Privacy, Protection, & Cybersecurity

Over the last decade, the risks associated with privacy and data security have grown significantly. In response to these ever-growing challenges the U.S. and international privacy and data protection standards have grown complex.

Becker provides its clients with the practical advice necessary to navigate cybersecurity and data security issues. The team handles litigation, compliance and regulatory counseling and internal investigations. Our lawyers have experience assisting companies in ensuring that their data collection and processing practices, data transfer procedures, privacy policies, and marketing activities are compliant with the relevant domestic, international, privacy, and data security regulations and laws. We work with our clients to provide comprehensive advice and representation in all areas related to cybersecurity, data privacy and data security. We have a wealth of experience assisting in data and breach-related issues, data protection, information security, Internet and computer law, e-commerce, consumer protection, information management and records retention and responding to cybercrimes and network intrusions.

Areas of Focus

  • Cybersecurity Preparedness and Governance
  • Incident Response and Crisis Management
  • Regulatory Enforcement and Counseling
  • Data Protection and Data Privacy
  • Privacy-Related Class Action and Other Litigation

Maritime & Admiralty

Becker Maritime attorneys have experience assisting clients in resolving all aspects of maritime disputes, including matters involving collision, personal injury, cargo loss, workers’ compensation, maritime commercial disputes and insurance coverage relating to inland marine vessels, oceangoing vessels, and passenger vessels. Our attorneys also have experience regarding the application of the Jones Act to offshore projects, cargo, passenger, and vessel movements.

As skilled litigators who understand the unique challenges confronting the maritime industry, we regularly handle complex and multijurisdictional litigation and have substantial experience defending civil, and administrative enforcement actions. Due to the nature of when and where clients’ needs arise, attorneys in this practice are on call 24 hours and travel to distant and sometimes remote locations. We work with clients to understand their objectives and always seek to resolve disputes as expeditiously as possible.

Areas of Focus

  • Arrests and attachments
  • Cargo Claims
  • Vessel Construction/Shipbuilding Disputes
  • Commercial Disputes
  • Jones Act Coastwise Trade Issues
  • Maritime Personal-Injury Claims
  • Charter Party and Contract Disputes
  • Insurance Coverage and Subrogation Matters
  • Defense of Civil and Administrative Actions
  • Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution