Once mighty Andersen, caught between a rock and a hard place following a federal indictment on obstruction of justice charges, spurned as a merger partner by fellow Big Five accounting firms and unsuccessful in its gambit to pay off potential litigants, looks headed toward bankruptcy court.

It's a precipitous and painful fall from grace for one of the most respected names in the accounting business. But history does hold some lessons for Andersen, which may prove helpful as the firm ponders which road to take next.

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