Solmssen: Comfort Letter

Comfort Letter Cover

Some lawyers also write novels. Was in third year law school when colleague suggested that I read The Comfort Letter, by Arthur Solmssen. Can’t remember if I borrowed her copy.

Much about ethics, and internal firm intrigue. Where the comfort letter is the assurance provided by accountants in relation to a public offering, with the assistance and concurrence of lawyers for the issuing corporation. And where the definition also makes reference to Solmssen’s 1975 novel.

A novel that generates academic analysis in relation to professional ethics, among other matters, such as by Professor Richard W. Painter , of the University of Minnesota Law School, in the Fordham Law Review, twenty-five years after the novel’s original publication: “Irrationality and Cognitive Bias at a Closing in Arthur Solmssen’s the Comfort Letter”:

Arthur Solmssen’s novel, The Comfort Letter, is based on National Student Marketing. This novel is not only an excellent introduction to
the legal and ethical issues in securities practice, but also to the
psychological pressures that bear down on lawyers and clients at a
closing. The novel, like some securities transactions in real life, also
includes a last minute crisis. This crisis might have been avoided had
the lawyers in the story recognized earlier the irrationality and
cognitive biases that affected the decision-making of the participants
in the closing.

Now forty years on. Novel messages transcending decades. As for a movie not made: does one see a figure on a top cover…

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About brucelarochelle

Practising Lawyer and Part-Time University Instructor (Accounting, Commercial Law, Organizational Behaviour); Part-Time Federal Tribunal Member. Non-practising Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant and Certified Management Accountant).
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