Thursday, May 30, 2002
Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe Adds Securities Lawyer
By NAZANIN AGANGE, Staff Writer
Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe’s Los Angeles office yesterday announced the addition of Michael L. Cypers, an accountant liability and securities litigation attorney, who has represented many top financial clients in civil litigation and trial.
Cypers, 45, joins Heller Ehrman as a shareholder. He leaves Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan, where he was a partner, after 20 years in what he called “an amicable parting.”
The decision to join Heller Ehrman came out of a personal conversation between Cypers and long-time friend Robert Hubble, Heller Ehrman managing shareholder, Cypers related.
He admits he never considered a move until the prospect of going to Heller Ehrman. What attracted Cypers to the firm was “the quality of the practice, the depth of the practice, the quality of the people—I’ve known some of them for 10 to 20 years—and their emphasis on teamwork,” he said.
“This is a terrific opportunity because I believe the firm has the premier practice for accounting litigation on the West Coast,” Cypers said.
As one of the few accountant liability lawyers that can boast trial experience, Cypers said he expects to make a strong contribution to Heller Ehrman. Cypers said he has “a nice handful” of clients that he expects will follow him to the firm.
Hubble called the move a perfect fit, saying Cypers “does what we do ... we share many clients.”
“We’re truly excited to be able to add a lawyer of Michael’s talent,” Hubble said. “We hope it expands our existing relationship with mutual clients, deepens our pool of available attorneys and, frankly, attracts future clients because of Michael’s reputation.”
Citing a “tremendous interest in financial statements matters, in accounting and auditing matters” and the recent rise in restatements, which are revised financial statements, Cypers predicted a growing number of cases for him and his associates.
Cypers is actively involved in responding to Securities and Exchange Commission investigations, though he could not comment further because the cases were not public yet, he said.
In a recent seven-month class action suit by UDC Homes Inc., now Shea Homes, against Arthur Andersen, Cypers contributed to a favorable verdict for the defense. He has also represented Andersen in litigation with McKesson Securities.
Currently, Cypers is also contributing, “on a limited basis,” to Andersen’s effort to settle shareholder civil litigation resulting from the Enron scandal.
Among other past clients, Cypers lists Deloitte & Touche, Pricewaterhouse and BDO Siedman.
Michael L. Rugen of Heller Erhman’s San Francisco office expressed satisfaction with the addition.
“Michael is one of the premier securities and accountants’ liability lawyers in Southern California and we are delighted to have him join us,” Rugen said. “Michael unquestionably adds to the depth and breadth of our expertise in this practice area, which are the equal of any firm in the country.”
Cypers serves on the Board of Governors of the Fulfillment Fund, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring and scholarships to inner city youth. The program has a reputation for success, graduating about 95 percent of its mentored youth from high school and having about 95 percent of those graduates go on to college, Cypers said.
Cypers has designed a securities litigation course, which he teaches, at U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. The class forces him to keep up with the cutting edge developments of the field, Cypers said.
Cypers earned his law degree from Boalt Hall in 1981.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company