Andersen Hires Top Gun Lawyer to Fight SEC

In the wake of the highly publicized conflict-of-interest hearings by the Securities and Exchange Commission to limit the activities of auditors offering audit and consulting services, Arthur Andersen has engaged the services of Attorney David Boies and his colleague, David Barrett.

A trial lawyer working for the U.S. Justice Department, Boies was the same lawyer who represented the Justice Department in the Microsoft antitrust case.

Because of the notoriety and reputation stemming from the Microsoft case, Andersen believes Boies and his team are the ideal choice to present the Big 5 firm's position during the SEC hearings. Anderson, KPMG, and Deloitte and Touche are scheduled to present arguments against the proposed limitations of service on Wednesday, July 26.

Boies himeslf will not be present at the hearing on Wednesday as he is embroiled in the Napster case in California, but Barrett will attend the SEC hearings on behalf of Arthur Andersen. The first tactic by Barrett will be to encourage the SEC to allow the firms to cross examine those who make presentations at the SEC hearings, so that all sides may be heard. Andersen is not alone, of course. The four other Big 5 firms also support the position that firms that provide auditing services should also be able to provide consulting services.

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