The concise version of the most widely adopted text in the field continues to respond to a demand for a briefer, less detailed casebook that introduces novices to how accounting issues frequently arise in the practice of law. Designed specifically for one- and two-credit hour courses for law students with no accounting background, the text of the Concise Fifth Edition is more than forty percent shorter than the Fifth Edition, so students will find this text less expensive and easier to master. The Concise Fifth Edition offers a broad overview of the field, which its earliest predecessor, the first casebook on accounting law for students, pioneered almost 70 years ago.

The first section of each chapter, entitled “Importance to Lawyers,” explains how accounting concepts and financial statements affect legal issues. Like the Fifth edition, the Concise Fifth Edition uses a “learn by doing” approach, including:

  • Illustrative financial statements from Starbucks Corporation
  • Multiple problems using the financial statements from, Inc., Google Inc., and United Parcel Service, Inc.

To assist instructors, a companion site supplements the text with an electronic version of the teacher’s manual, PowerPoint slides, chapter outlines, and sample exams.

Imprint: Foundation Press
Series: University Casebook Series
Publication Date: 01/08/2016

Matthew J. Barrett, Notre Dame Law School

David R. Herwitz, Harvard University Law School


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Since the publication of our concise fourth edition in 2006, Congress has enacted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 and the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act; the Securities and Exchange Commission has announced a proposed “roadmap” for adopting International Financial Reporting Standards, finalized regulations implementing these statutory reforms, and brought various enforcement actions, including against lawyers in the stock option scandals of the late 2000s; and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) has promulgated the FASB Accounting Standards Codification--which assembles all authoritative guidance in one place and affects the way enterprises reference accounting policies in their financial statements, related notes and legal agreements, has issued multiple new accounting rules to address the global credit crisis and other issues, and has worked with the International Accounting Standards Board to converge accounting standards globally. With new material in every chapter, the Concise Fifth Edition covers all these developments and more.

Whenever possible, the Concise Fifth Edition uses Starbucks Corporation (“Starbucks”), and its fiscal 2012 annual report, Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2012, and related earnings release, which are included in Appendix A, to illustrate various financial accounting principles and related concepts (replacing the references in the fourth edition to similar materials related to Starbucks’ fiscal year ended October 2, 2005). The text also uses the 2012 financial reports of, Inc., Google, Inc., United Parcel Service, Inc. as the primary sources for various problems and for occasional illustrations (rather than those companies’ 2004 financial reports). Given the computing power, accessibility, and widespread availability of Microsoft Excel, the chapter on the time value of money now illustrates various calculations using the 2010 version of that software for Windows.

Learn more about this series.