I test whether hints at an attorney's line of argument influence accountants' expert witness testimony. In experiment 1, litigation services accountants review evidence adopted from a recent auditor‐liability case and decide whether a defendant auditor complied with generally accepted auditing standards. I find that hints posed before the review of evidence result in decisions that are more consistent with the attorney's verdict preference. Motivated by a lack of research on the role of accountants' expert testimony in judges' decisions and by evidence that most auditor‐liability cases settle, I find in experiment 2 that the certainty of decisions in an expert's report affects the settlement decisions of experienced lawyers, a proxy for trial judges. These findings show that hints at an attorney's line of argument can influence accountants' decisions about evidence documenting auditing issues, and that the certainty of decisions in an expert's report can affect the decisions of mock trial judges. The study has implications for drafting attorney‐expert retention letters, and for training accounting experts and the judiciary about the role of hints in the attorney‐expert setting.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.