Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Long and Winding Road: Building a Championship Legal/Financial Team
Lisa McNorton, Ron Seigneur, Kevin Yeanoplos

Financial issues are often the cornerstone issue in dissolution of marriage cases. Contests over the division of marital assets and debts, the determination of whether individual assets are part of the marital estate or one spouse’s separate property, and disagreements over value and allocation frequently merge to become one of, if not the, primary areas of focus of protracted domestic relations litigation in dissolution cases. Spousal disputes frequently become charged and contentious, and the litigation spreads to embrace financial and valuation experts who are engaged to perform a host of financial services. This presentation will help attorneys and financial experts to work together effectively and successfully.

Digital Evidence in Family Law Cases: What You Need to Know Before It 'Bytes' You in the 41 73 73
David Griffin, Nicholas Himonidis, Michael Meehan

This program will cover a broad range of critical digital evidence issues for family lawyers and related professionals with a focus on recent trends and challenges that counsel and financial experts must be prepared to address regarding electronically stored information (ESI). The program will cover important basics, including what ESI is and the technical digital processes by which it is formed as well as much more sophisticated topics, including understanding the risks and strategic decisions that must be made regarding the acquisition, preservation, and use of ESI; data encryption; geolocation data; “spyware” and digital espionage; and the use of cryptocurrency to secrete assets. Attendees can expect key takeaways in the areas of how a digital forensic expert extracts, preserves, and analyzes ESI and converts it into “courtroom useful” format and the pitfalls that exist in the realm of ESI including evidence of illegal activities such as child porn, illegal financial activities, missed preservation opportunities, spoliation of ESI, and manipulation or editing of ESI (video, voice, or other manipulation), including computer-generated voice mimicry, slice editing, and the like. The program seeks to deliver key lessons on how to manage the entirety of the ESI component of a case from client intake to expert retention to completion of trial, including chain of custody issues and introduction into evidence.

From the Eyes of the Judges

Hon. Scott M. Gordon (Ret.) :  justice retired of the Los Angeles Superior Court
Hon. Charles J. Hoskin: judge of the Nevada 8th Judicial District Court Family Division
Hon. Alan D. Scheinkman: justice retired of the New York State Appellate Division, 2nd Judicial Department

In a question-and-answer format, Justice Scheinkman, Judge Gordon, and Judge Hoskin will provide guidance to attorneys and experts regarding expert testimony, including:

  • Supporting expert opinions;
  • Excluding expert testimony;
  • Analysis of competing expert opinions; 
  • What is effective and persuasive testimony and cross-examination and
  • Pitfalls—evidence of illegal activities including illegal financial activities (e.g., “perq” or fraud?), spoliation of evidence, and more. 


All in the Family—Related Party Companies in Divorce
Karolina Calhoun, Kevin Segler

Karolina Calhoun and Kevin Segler will cover all things related party in divorce valuation, including entity structure issues, multilayering with discounts, and tracing marital versus separate asset ownership with complex multientity ownerships. We will also discuss related parties in the business and said impact on ownership, valuation, and division—including the consideration of classes of stock in division, such as GP versus LP or voting versus nonvoting.


Waste Not, Want Not—Dissipation vs. Allowed Expenses
Ric Roane Briggs Stahl

What constitutes dissipation? It is waste or just allowed spending. This session focuses on the differences between dissipation and allowed expenses both pre- and post-filing. Procedures for finding and determining the potential dissipation amounts and presenting them to the court. How courts have looked at dissipation and determined whether it would be charged to a party. 


Top 10 Tax Tips in Five Minutes or Less
Michelle F. Gallagher, CPA/ABV/CFF and Brian C. Vertz, ESQ/MBA

When tax topics crop up in your family law engagement, you need quick answers. So tax gurus Michelle Gallagher and Brian Vertz are coming to the rescue with the tax help you need to avoid mistakes and keep the family law engines running smoothly. Packed with takeaways, this program will deliver answers about the 2022 personal and child-related tax credits, tax brackets and QBI thresholds, exemption and deduction limitations and phase-outs, and maybe some tax extenders. Michelle and Brian have your back with the latest tax developments, reference materials, tips, and summaries that you’ll need at your fingertips.

Untangling the Web of Complex and Startup Businesses
Jay Fishman, Kenneth Pia, Adam John Wolff

How to address complex business valuation issues, unique capital structures, incentive fees, and venture capital raise. With guidance from Jay Fishman, Ken Pia, and Adam Wolff, you will learn how the trend toward new and different ways to raise capital, as well as appraisals of private equity and hedge fund interests, impact valuations. We will provide valuation tips for today’s businesses that are funded with ever-evolving combinations of debt (including convertible debt) and equity (common and preferred; voting and nonvoting). The discussion will include how to incorporate increasingly multilayered waterfalls of incentive fees and carried interests into the valuation analysis. Attendees will be better positioned to assess startups and as well as existing entities from the perspectives of both the founders/operational team and venture capital investors. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Two Keys to Mastering Financial Testimony That Give You the Edge
Deborah Johnson, Racheal Mastel

This session will help attorneys and experts discover how to capture the attention of the trier of fact from the very beginning of testimony and how to streamline and enhance findings and conclusions for maximum impact. Plus, the speakers will provide tips for getting the best results from your own clients in presenting financial testimony when you don’t have an expert.

What’s Mine Is Mine. What’s Ours Is Mine. Stashing Assets and Income.
Michael G. Kaplan, Elena Karabatos

Parties going through a divorce often embark on schemes to divert income marital assets to destinations unknown to their spouses, in an attempt to keep more than their legal share of the marital estate. In this program, we explore how these schemes are executed, telltale signs that a spouse is not being candid about marital assets and their whereabouts, and approaches to uncovering hidden income and assets.

Part I: Understanding and Examining the Professional Judgment of Financial Experts
Ron Seigneur, Lisa Ann Sharpe

These two interrelated sessions are focused on trial practice with financial experts and will introduce the two sides of expert witness trial testimony: direct examination and cross-examination. This will include the following. In the first session, you will learn how to present an expert’s business valuation report at trial and how to defend your expert’s valuation conclusions at trial from attacks on his or her opinions. Portions of a valuation report will be reviewed to illustrate the discretionary components of an expert’s report, and you will see how the expert’s assumptions tie into the final valuation numbers. You will be able to improve support for the expert’s conclusions including cost of capital, weighting of normalized historical income, weighting of valuation methods, and other assumptions the expert made. This session will include a demonstration of an attorney eliciting direct examination testimony and defending the trial expert.


Market Multiples: Key Differences Between Transactions
Kevin Yeanoplos, Brian Vertz

Use of a market approach in valuing a closely held business for divorce purposes may be appropriate depending on the applicable standard of value, case precedent, and availability of information. 

Intellectual Property Conundrums
Stacy Collins, Mark Roesler

Intellectual property exists in many professions, not just the arts. Thorny issues abound. Even defining the IP created during the marriage can be difficult. In this session, Mark Roesler and Stacy Collins will discuss questions that attorneys and experts can ask in order to understand what exists and how it can be monetized better. We will talk about how some courts have addressed its value. We will address considerations in settling IP issues. We will also review appeals where there had been inadequate disclosure, issues with drafting, and other challenges.

Part II: Understanding and Examining the Professional Judgment of Financial Experts
James Godbout, Drew Soshnick

These two interrelated sessions are focused on trial practice with financial experts and will introduce the two sides of expert witness trial testimony: direct examination and cross-examination. This will include the following. In the second session, you will learn how to attack an expert’s opinion of value based on the assumptions underlying the report. The presenters will review a case study that demonstrates the best methods of deposing an expert and cross-examination of the opposing expert at trial. You will learn the areas where an expert may be questioned to expose flaws in his or her report. This session will include a demonstration of an attorney cross-examining an expert a trial.

Neutral Expert Assignments: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Marie Ebersbacher, Ronnie Schindel

Neutral expert assignments can present great opportunities, but attorneys and forensics must also be wary of potential pitfalls. Is a stipulation for a joint engagement enough, or do you need a court order? How do you keep apprised of deadlines as the expert? Will the client save money? If so, will it be worth it? How is the neutral chosen, and how does that impact whether there should be one? Answers and more in this in-depth presentation designed to help attorneys strategically assess whether they will recommend a neutral expert and give experts the tools to decide whether neutral assignments are worth the risks.

Accounting for Attorneys
Adam John Wolff, Tracy Katz

This session will address various “how to” and “what is/are” accounting questions attorneys often ask. “What” are the books and records of a company, i.e., general ledger, cash receipts, and cash disbursements journal? Come to think of it, “what is” QuickBooks and/or other commonly used bookkeeping software? “What” information should I be gleaning from a company’s profit and loss statement and balance sheet? “How do” I read a tax return? “What is” the difference between income and distributions from a flow-through entity? “What is” phantom income?

Creative Settlements and Reaching for the Golden Ring
Joy Feinberg, Joseph Estabrook

You’ve gotten the balance sheet set. You know where you are apart. How do you get from your position to settlement? We will discuss creative, dynamic, and persuasive models and methods to achieve resolutions. These are techniques we have used over the years.

How to Attack and Defend the Databases Valuation Analysts Use How the Unknown Can Help You (Attorney) or Kill You (Financial Analyst)
James R. Hitchner, Sherri Evans

Financial analysts: Have you ever been cross-examined by an attorney who is more familiar with databases referenced in your valuation than you? When was the last time, if ever, that you, as a financial analyst, reviewed and studied the methodology and data of databases you are relying on in your analyses and reports?

Attorneys: These databases are fair game for you. Learn what analysts don’t know but should know. This is litigation fodder if the analyst is not fully prepared for your onslaught.

The analyst’s credibility can be damaged if he or she can’t answer questions about the databases he or she uses. This webinar will summarize what’s important to know about these databases, the strengths and weaknesses of the reported information, and how to attack or protect the integrity of valuation opinions.

The Gray Divorce: Unique Challenges in Long-Term Marriages
2:20PM– 3:35PM
Michelle Gallagher, CPA/ABV/CFF, and James J. Harrington, III

Current market conditions in conjunction with the COVID-19 pandemic have required an increased focus on unique challenges arising out of long-term marriages, and our older clients are most at risk. Financial expert Michelle Gallagher and AAML Fellow Jim Harrington provide their insights, expertise, and perspectives in analyzing the unique financial and litigation challenges in Gray divorces including economic stresses and physical and psychological challenges not usually present in short- or medium-term marriages.

Discovery Disputes in Complex Litigation: Tips for Experts to Effectively Assist in the Discovery Process (sponsored by Whitley Penn)
Anna Hardy

Discovery is one of the most critical aspects for financial experts in litigation. The information obtained has a direct impact on the analysis and opinions rendered. When faced with a contentious litigation case, obtaining relevant information can be one of the highest hurdles to face. In this session, learn tips to assist attorneys throughout the discovery process from informal requests to the issuance of subpoenas and testimony at hearings to obtain documents.

Ethical Quandaries: An Interactive Session
Stacy Collins, Jim Hitchner and Ronnie Schindel, Moderators

In this session, we will ask the audience to assess various ethical dilemmas that attorneys and financial experts may face. Can an expert value the same business in two different divorces? As an attorney or expert, how do you deal with a client that failed to report a material asset or income? We will raise several vignettes then provide time to evaluate and discuss. Interactive polling will be available for participants. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Cryptocurrency Trends in Divorce
Dorothy Haraminac, Ed Kainen 

This presentation is about discovery of cryptocurrency assets in divorce and valuation. Attendees are assumed to have some cryptocurrency knowledge; this presentation will not cover the origin stories or the inner cryptographic workings of various cryptocurrencies.

Active Passive Appreciation—Community Property vs. Equitable Distribution Jurisdictions
Karolina Calhoun, Lisa Ann Sharpe

What if a separate property business interest appreciates significantly in value during the marriage? Should the value increase in separate property during marriage be considered a marital asset? How do these concepts differ if you are in Community Property (“CP”) Jurisdiction as compared to an Equitable Distribution (“ED”) Jurisdiction? Establishing the difference between an asset’s active and passive appreciation (“APA”) during a marriage, and then between the date of separation and the date of distribution, can have an enormous impact on the division of an asset in a divorce. Active appreciation is due to marital efforts and is usually a divisible marital asset, passive appreciation is typically not a marital asset. This presentation will address the sophisticated valuation approaches and techniques necessary in performing APA analyses with a focus on distinguishing between performing APA analyses in CP versus ED jurisdictions.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road—Trial Planning With Your Expert
Briggs Stahl, Joe Hunt

How do certain attorneys and experts always seem to be on top of their game at trial?  This session focuses on how to prepare and develop case-winning strategies with your expert, present those strategies in an organized in persuasive manner and working with your expert for cross-examination of the opposing expert.  This presentation will cover how to develop that strategy from the initial call to the expert to the ultimate settlement or trial testimony and provide timelines and guidance for producing positive results.  


BVLaw Case Update
Jim Alerding, Drew Soshnick, James Ewart

Jim Alerding and Jim Ewart, veteran valuators, and Drew Soshnick, family law attorney and experienced valuation expert, will discuss some of the most consequential recent valuation and financial litigation decisions. This selection of  state and federal cases will be presented and discussed by the three experts.  The analysis of these cases, handpicked by the experts for their importance, will provide insight into current issues in the business valuation arena and discussion of not only how the court ruled on these issues but what the experts believe is the importance of the issues and how to apply them in your practice

Reasonable Compensation Is the Answer? I’ll Take ‘Common Mistakes’ for $1,000, Alex
Kevin Yeanoplos, Lisa McNorton

Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. Take the (mis)use of methodologies and resources to determine reasonable compensation for example. The adjustment to reflect reasonable compensation for owners and employees of a privately-held business is often the single most important decision that a valuator is faced with. Too often, we seem too content to simply rely on the extraction method…pulling it out of the air! Lisa and Kevin's presentation will provide an in-depth discussion of relevant case law and legal concepts, and how to perform a thorough analysis, considering productivity, appropriate resources and duties. 

Best Trial Practices
Tracy Farryl Katz, Anne Kiley

This session will address topics from pre-trial preparation to trial exhibits, illustrating how the forensic accountants and counsel can work together to prepare an exceptional case. The panel will discuss how to develop concise, yet comprehensive, demonstrative financial exhibits and provide guidelines to assist both counsel and expert witnesses with recommendations for synthesizing complex fiscal information into easily coherent and intelligible exhibits and testimony.

Offshore Issues in Complex International Divorce—Valuation and Tracing
Andrew Zashin, Neil Beaton (Arik Van Zandt subbing if Beaton is called away…)

Finding and valuing assets is one of the most critical components of handling complex divorce matters and tracing them can get tricky. This presentation will address the practical challenges of identifying, valuing, and tracing assets, both domestic and abroad.  Once able to identify an asset, we will go through an in-depth analysis of the several practical approaches to trace assets abroad and successfully handle the challenging issues that arise when dealing with these international assets.

Executive Compensation: The Ghost of Past, Present or Future?
Hillary Moonay, Sandy Klevan

The program will provide an in-depth analysis of the various types of executive compensation plans divorce attorneys and forensic accountants will encounter in their cases.  After giving background about various types of plans and important details divorce attorneys should know, the panel will key in on more controversial issues.   Participants will learn methods used to determine whether the compensation was earned prior to or after the divorce cut-off date.  The panel will then explore how that information impacts the marital nature of the various types of awards, as well as alternative distribution scenarios and valuation techniques.  


Cannabis in Family Law: Buckle Up, This Is About to Get Interesting!
Ron Seigneur, Todd A. Stahl

The session will explore a wide range of topics when marijuana is part of a dissolution of marriage proceeding, including valuation of marijuana-related assets as part of a marital estate and usage issues related to child custody and related impacts.  An overview of the state-legal, regulated marketplace will be provided to contrast with the illicit side of the industry and how both sides are evolving.

The strength of marijuana in today’s world is significantly stronger in THC content than in prior decades and this can lead to addiction-related abuse that needs to be assessed in a dissolution proceeding.   Therapeutic and medically accepted usage will be compared to recreational usage with comparisons to alcohol abuse-related issues in marriages. 

In the cannabis industry, history is not often indicative of the future and reliance on historical data may lead to inaccurate valuations.   The value of businesses in established, state legal markets like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington is different than the value of businesses in newly legal states or those anticipated to become legal in the near future.  This session will address these topics along with valuing brands, the impact and treatment of IRC 280E in an appraisal context, and where to find industry data and resources.


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