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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Chris Osborne

Chris Osborne

Osborne Partners29 Throgmorton StreetLondonEnglandEC2N 2AT

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Chris Osborne is definitely a “big name” in the European market and comes “highly rated” by peers for his first-rate quantum analysis.

Questions & Answers

Prior to founding Osborne Partners, Chris was the global head of FTI Consulting’s economic consulting segment. Before joining FTI Consulting, Chris was the European managing director of LECG LLP and before that the global head of Arthur Andersen’s economic and financial consulting group. Chris has more than 35 years’ experience in bringing economic and financial analysis to complex commercial and regulatory disputes. During the course of his career Chris has been involved in several hundred cases of litigation and arbitration, across multiple industry sectors.

What do you enjoy most about your role as a testifying expert?

I enjoy the issues – particularly the process of getting to the bottom of issues that are analytically complex. I also enjoy the international nature of the work.   

What has been your most memorable case to date, and why?

Argyll/ Guinness, in the late 1980s. It was the first major case that I worked on, and one in which we were able to deploy spreadsheet-based analysis for what may have been the first time in a litigation matter.

How do you prepare for complex high-value multinational disputes?

As extensively as I can. I don’t have any standard system, but I try to immerse myself as far as possible in the details of the case.  

What are the best ways of remaining impartial and independent when providing analysis and testimony?

It’s a very natural human thing to want to see a problem from the perspective of your client. Remembering that is a good first step. You need team members who are trained to question assumptions, and to challenge interim conclusions. I also think that what is sometimes called the scientific method helps. By that I mean that you take an interim conclusion, and ask: if that were true, what would follow? And then test the corollary point, either empirically or logically, to see whether the result strengthens or undermines your interim conclusion. Then adapt and repeat as necessary.

How has the approach to quantifying economic damages evolved since you first began practising?

Spreadsheets are now a lot bigger; and research is a lot easier. That’s both good and bad – reports now regularly contain a much greater quantity of analysis than they used to, but that quantity can mask a lack of insight.   

How has covid-19 affected expert work and the type of matters conducted? Can you see these changes being long term?

The obvious point is that hearings are now conducted virtually. My experience is that participants have been surprised at how effective that is. I can absolutely see that having longer-term effects – more virtual hearings, fewer in-person ones.  

The less obvious point is that, although teams can work more effectively through virtual interactions than we might have thought, they are still not as effective as they can be when interactions are in person. Meeting people physically still matters.  

How do you see the demands of clients changing over the next five years?

I think there are a couple of points worth making. First, the covid-19 pandemic will have a long recessionary overhang – corporate discretionary spending will be under pressure for some time.  That creates the conditions for third-party funders to get more involved, which in turn will have an impact on the way cases are managed, both for lawyers and for experts.  

A second point concerns investor-state cases in particular. The trend towards greater nationalism seems likely to be sustained, and perhaps enhanced by a need to maintain tax revenues or curtail government spending. I expect more cases that test the boundaries of the state’s ability to set its own rules.

Looking back over your career, what has been your proudest achievement?

I think for any partner in a professional services firm, one of the most satisfying things you can do is to help bring your colleagues through to the partner level. I’ve been able to do that over the years. It is what I am most proud of.  

Thought Leaders - Arbitration Expert Witnesses 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Chris Osborne is “a major player in the market”, hailed by peers as a “great” expert witness and a “long-established name in the field”.

Questions & Answers

Prior to founding Osborne Partners, Chris was the global head of FTI Consulting’s economic consulting segment. Before joining FTI Consulting, Chris was the European managing director of LECG LLP; and before that, the global head of Arthur Andersen’s economic and financial consulting group. Chris has more than 35 years’ experience in bringing economic and financial analysis to complex commercial and regulatory disputes. During the course of his career, Chris has been involved in more than 200 cases of litigation and arbitration, across multiple industry sectors. 

What inspired you to pursue a career as an expert witness?

I didn’t set out to have a career as an expert witness. Initially I worked on a mix of analytically driven problems – some commercial, some (especially in the 1990s) concerned with the regulation of newly privatised markets, and some that involved either litigation or arbitration. Over the past 20 years, though, the increase in the volume of international arbitration has meant that the expert witness work has increasingly come to dominate. I like it because of the range of countries, industries and issues that the work now covers.

How has the role of arbitration expert witness changed since you started practising?

I don’t think that the role has changed much in principle. There is, and always has been, analysis to be done, opinions to be reached, and answers to be explained, in writing and under cross-examination. The issues being covered, however, are from my perspective wider and more nuanced than they were in the early 2000s when many of the cases involved something close to expropriation. I think that experts now are more often drawn into issues of causation (as to the connection between an alleged breach and an identified harm).

What makes Osborne Partners stand out from its competitors in the market?

Right now, not so much! You could find a similar mix of economics and finance skills, and depth of experience, in a number of firms (not a very large number, but some). But watch this space.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own firm?

There is a stage in your career when it’s feasible. I think that people who are at that stage should have a bias in favour of their own firm (fewer conflicts, more interesting fee structures, better quality of life, etc). The key point for me, though, is whether what you are contemplating is really a vehicle for your own work, or something that you expect to continue on afterwards. If you are prepared to contemplate building a business, then I think it will be potentially very rewarding.

What role does arbitration have to play in a world that has been impacted by covid-19?

The covid-19 pandemic is likely to increase rather than reduce the number of cases, even if not initially. The process is harder in the current environment, but arbitrators, and practitioners, will have to learn to adapt. My impression so far is that technology provides a viable substitute for in-person meetings, and hearings.

What is the most complex aspect of commercial disputes in your experience as an expert, and how do you tackle it successfully?

Sometimes there is a natural way of looking at a problem that is wrong – in the sense of leading you to an apparently compelling but incorrect conclusion. Explaining why that happens, and proposing alternative perspectives, is hard. Economic theory can help (and covers many of the important and counter-intuitive facts of commercial life) but does not always lead itself to easy explanations. In truth I don’t always tackle this problem successfully. I am learning, though.

What steps can younger experts take to improve their chances of getting testifying appointments? Is there an important role to play here for experienced practitioners? 

There is no question in my mind that younger experts need help from more established experts. There are several ways in which that help can be provided, and the more established experts within a given firm need to be on the lookout for opportunities for their younger colleagues to take. Finding an area in which to specialise can help, as can all of the usual approaches to building a network of people who value your work. But the most important thing from my perspective is to work with someone more experienced who is prepared to look for opportunities to advance your own career.

You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

There is a lot still to do! By way of example, the analytical tools that we use haven’t changed much over the past few decades (since the 1980s, perhaps, when desktop computers first arrived and spreadsheet analysis became feasible; or the early 2000s, when internet-based research became easier). I believe that there will soon be another technologically driven disruption to the process of addressing quantitative questions in litigation and arbitration. I would like us to be early adopters.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

Peers and clients say

"Chris is an excellent expert witness and is a long-established name in the field"
"He always thinks outside the box"

Biography

Chris Osborne is an independent consultant. Chris was previously the global leader of FTI Consulting’s economic consulting practice. Prior to that he was the global head of Arthur Andersen’s economic and financial consulting group. Mr Osborne has over 30 years' experience in bringing economic and financial analysis to complex commercial and regulatory disputes.

During the course of his career, Mr Osborne has been involved in over 200 cases of litigation and arbitration, covering loss of profits claims, post-acquisition disputes, insurance claims and restrictive trade practices. He has worked on regulatory issues in the electricity, gas, media, post, rail, telecoms, and water sectors, working for regulators, incumbents and new market entrants, in the UK and more widely in Europe.

He has given oral evidence on over 30 occasions – in the UK’s domestic courts, as well as in London, Paris, Stockholm, Geneva and Singapore, in ICC, UNCITRAL and ICSID arbitrations. He has also given evidence in the US tax courts, in the US-Iran Tribunal, in the then Restrictive Trades Practices Court and in front of the then Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

He was named as one of five “most highly regarded individuals” in Europe in the expert witness analysis of WWL: Arbitration (2016).

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Chris Osborne is definitely a “big name” in the European market and comes “highly rated” by peers for his first-rate quantum analysis.

Biography

Chris Osborne is an independent consultant. Chris was previously the global leader of FTI Consulting’s economic consulting practice. Prior to that he was the global head of Arthur Andersen’s economic and financial consulting group. Mr Osborne has over 30 years' experience in bringing economic and financial analysis to complex commercial and regulatory disputes.

During the course of his career, Mr Osborne has been involved in over 200 cases of litigation and arbitration, covering loss of profits claims, post-acquisition disputes, insurance claims and restrictive trade practices. He has worked on regulatory issues in the electricity, gas, media, post, rail, telecoms, and water sectors, working for regulators, incumbents and new market entrants, in the UK and more widely in Europe.

He has given oral evidence on over 30 occasions – in the UK’s domestic courts, as well as in London, Paris, Stockholm, Geneva and Singapore, in ICC, UNCITRAL and ICSID arbitrations. He has also given evidence in the US tax courts, in the US-Iran Tribunal, in the then Restrictive Trades Practices Court and in front of the then Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

He was named as one of five “most highly regarded individuals” in Europe in the expert witness analysis of WWL: Arbitration (2016).

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Chris Osborne is a "very able damages expert" with over 35 years’ of experience in complex commercial and regulatory disputes.

Biography

Prior to founding Osborne Partners, Chris was the global head of FTI Consulting’s Economic Consulting segment. Before joining FTI Consulting, Chris was the European Managing Director of LECG LLP and before that the global head of Arthur Andersen’s Economic and Financial Consulting Group. Chris has more than 35 years’ experience in bringing economic and financial analysis to complex commercial and regulatory disputes.

During the course of his career Chris has been involved in more than 200 cases of litigation and arbitration, across multiple industry sectors. He has also worked on regulatory issues in the electricity, gas, media, post, rail, telecoms, and water sectors, working for regulators, incumbents and new market entrants, in the UK and more widely in Europe. He has a BSc in Civil Engineering and an MSc in Economics; and is also a Chartered Accountant.

He has given oral evidence on over 40 occasions - in the UK’s domestic courts, as well as in London, Paris, Stockholm, Geneva, Singapore and Melbourne in ICC, UNCITRAL and ICSID arbitrations. He has also given evidence in the US Tax Courts, in the US-Iran Tribunal, before the Competition Appeals Tribunal, in the then Restrictive Trades Practices Court and in front of the then Monopolies and Mergers Commission.
He was recently named as one of ten “Thought Leaders” in Europe in Who’s Who Legal’s “Arbitration 2019: Expert Witness Analysis”.  He has consistently been identified as a leading expert witness in the Who’s Who Legal listings since their inception in 2011.

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