In this paper, the developed formulation, which we shall call the “reference” one, is used to assess the validity of the most popular simplified approach for the calculation of the lightning electromagnetic field over a conducting earth, namely, the Cooray-Rubinstein (CR) approximation. This formula provides a simple method to evaluate the radial component of the electric field which is the component most affected by the finite ground conductivity and which plays an important role within the Agrawal et al. (1980) field-to-transmission line-coupling model. Several configurations are examined, with different values for the ground conductivity and different field observation points. A thorough analysis of all the simulated field components is carried out and comparisons are also made with the “ideal” field, namely, the field that would be present under the assumption of perfectly conducting ground. It is shown that for channel base current typical of subsequent strokes and for very low conductivities, the CR formula exhibits some deviations from the reference one but it still represents a conservative estimation of the radial field component, since it behaves as un upper bound for the exact curve. The developed algorithm is characterized by fast performances in terms of CPU time, lending itself to be used for several applications, including a coupling code for lightning induced overvoltages calculations.