AICPA Family Law Conference Special Report: Appraisers who educate are most likely to earn the affection of their lawyer clients

BVWireIssue #104-4
May 25, 2011

BVWire was in Las Vegas last week covering the first annual AICPA Family Law Conference (a great success judging from the buzz of conversations and jam-packed session rooms!). We had the chance to sit down with Tom Burrage (Burrage & Johnson CPAs) during one of the breaks.  He described a recent analysis he had done on his client database and engagement history: “I found that only 10% of my divorce engagements end up in the courtroom. And when I introduce a neutral expert into the mix (either court appointed or one shared between the two attorneys), that percentage goes down to about 5%."  Tom and BVWire wonder whether other practitioners would see similar results?  Share your stats with us at and as always we will report on the findings.

And on the role of financial experts in educating attorneys and judges, Tom Burrage and Michelle Gallagher (Gallagher & Associates CPAs) described themselves as the translators of the numbers for the word smiths.

Michelle gave a great example of how experts can endear themselves to attorneys.  During a recent divorce engagement that involved a restaurant franchise, the attorney asked why she wasn't using the market approach.  "I gave him 10 pages from BVR's Guide to Restaurant Valuation that discusses in detail that very topic.  He told me he loved me."  Tom and Michelle concurred that aside from translating, experts do well to take their educational role as seriously as possible.

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