What Is an Attorney's Letter?

What Is an Attorney's Letter?

3 Min.

A formal business letter from a certified public accounting to a company's attorney is known as an attorney's letter. When a company's management sends information about pending litigation to their accountant, it must be verified by an attorney's letter. During the audit process, it is utilized to reveal any possible losses that may occur from lawsuits against the company. This is done in order to identify any potential negative impacts on the company's financial position.


Attorney's letters are vital in business communication, acting as official correspondence between certified public accountants (CPAs) and their clients' legal representatives. These formal letters primarily serve to authenticate and corroborate the data submitted by a company's management concerning ongoing legal proceedings.

Their significance lies in their ability to keep auditors well-informed and to provide certification regarding any impending legal actions that may potentially impede the financial stability of a company. By alerting auditors to such matters, these letters help ensure accurate financial reporting and preempt any adverse effects on the company's financial statements.

What Is an Attorney's Letter?

The attorney's letter holds great significance as an essential component of financial audits. When auditors embark on reviewing a company's financial records, it becomes imperative to consider any legal proceedings that could potentially jeopardize the company's financial standing. Consequently, auditors require comprehensive insights into any pending lawsuits the organization faces.

During an audit, auditors may specifically request the attorney's letter if there are suspicions that the company's management has not disclosed pending litigation. This letter serves as a reliable source of information, offering the necessary details to auditors.

Fundamentally, the attorney's letter aims to validate the accuracy and completeness of the information provided by the client. By receiving a response from the attorney, a certified public accountant (CPA) can better understand whether the client's legal circumstances significantly impact the information reported in their financial statements.

This meticulous scrutiny becomes particularly crucial in cases where potential losses stemming from unfavorable lawsuit verdicts are imminent. Such financial setbacks could gravely impact the company's financial strength, thus necessitating the dissemination of these risks to shareholders and prospective investors.

Key Considerations for Accounting and Auditing

Effective compliance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) necessitates management's proactive implementation of procedures to account for litigation, claims, and assessments when preparing financial statements.

Regarding such legal matters, auditors bear the responsibility of acquiring pertinent information. The following key details are crucial to gather:

  1. Identification of potential losses resulting from litigation.
  2. Determination of the precise timeline when the litigation-triggering event occurred.
  3. Evaluation of the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome for the company.
  4. Estimation of potential financial losses.

To ensure the accuracy and completeness of this information, an attorney's letter serves as a vital verification tool. Typically, its necessity arises when the potential financial loss holds material significance, a determination made collaboratively by the auditor and the company.


Attorney's letters play a crucial role in business communication and financial audits. They serve as formal correspondence between certified public accountants (CPAs) and legal representatives, ensuring data authentication regarding ongoing legal proceedings. By providing auditors with necessary insights into pending lawsuits, these letters help safeguard the financial stability of companies. They validate the accuracy of information provided by clients, particularly in cases where potential losses from unfavorable lawsuit outcomes pose risks to financial statements. Compliance with accounting principles and acquiring key details are essential for effective auditing, with attorney's letters serving as a vital tool in verifying and validating crucial legal information.

Attorney's Letter