firm's auditors, who should have allegedly caught these defalcations," said James Cox, a professor at Duke University law school who specializes in corporate and securities law. Since both auditors missed the problems and it appeared to have taken HP a while to catch it after it took over Autonomy, the auditors may have a strong defense."You can have a perfectly sound audit and still have fraud exist," he said. A Deloitte UK spokesman said the company could not comment and would cooperate with any investigations.The law firms and the bankers will likely argue that they were not hired to review the bookkeeping and had relied on the opinion of the auditors, securities law experts said.Multiple sources with knowledge of the HP-Autonomy transaction added that the big-name banks on Autonomy's side were brought in days before the final agreement was struck. These sources said the banks were brought on as favors for their long relationships with the companies, in a little-scrutinized Wall Street practice of crediting -- and paying – investment banks that actually have little do with the deal.
LAWSUITS, REPUTATIONS AT STAKE
Plaintiffs lawyers said they were taking calls from investors about HP on Tuesday. Darren Robbins, a San Diego-based plaintiff lawyer who represents shareholders, said the tech icon appears to have spent billions on a shoddy company without undertaking the proper due diligence, and thus misrepresented its finances to investors."I think they have serious troubles," he said.But plaintiff lawyers may have difficulty bringing so-called derivative lawsuits against professional services firms,