Something’s Gotta Give: Navigating Auditor Inquiries in Investigations (Part One of Two)

There is often tension between lawyers conducting internal investigations and auditors responsible for reporting on financial statements over the extent to which the auditors are entitled to the results of the investigation and access to the lawyer’s work product. The tension between the parties is understandable, but the balance has shifted too far toward the auditors, and at some point, something has to give, William Semins, Brian Saulnier, and Travis Gery, attorneys at K&L Gates, argue in a guest article series. In this first part, the authors discuss the context of auditors’ inquiries and the governing standards for lawyers and auditors. In the second part, they will look at how the uncertain case law underscores the risk of waiver of applicable protections, argue for the need to restore balance, and provide seven steps to help lawyers guard against waiver. See “Preserving Privilege in Audits and Internal Investigations” (Jun. 24, 2020).

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