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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Thought Leader

Thought Leaders - Arbitration Expert Witnesses 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Daniel Ryan is highly regarded by peers who note he is “really good on valuation and IP issues”.

Questions & Answers

Daniel Ryan is a managing director at Berkeley Research Group, where he leads the London office. Mr Ryan has over 25 years’ experience in quantifying damages arising out of claims in contract, or tort, and in valuing businesses and shares in both contentious and non-contentious matters. He is also highly experienced in intellectual property licensing, infringement of intellectual property rights, fiscal valuation and transfer pricing

What qualities make for an effective expert witness in contentious proceedings? 

Obviously, being able to articulate complex material in a manner that makes them understandable for an audience that is not expert in them is essential. Beyond that, many damages or valuation calculations are driven by a couple of key assumptions or hypotheses. Having the ability to identify and explain in a compelling manner why one set of assumptions is critical and to be preferred over alternatives is a vital component of an expert’s evidence. 

What do you enjoy most about your role as head of the firm’s London office? 

Being involved in the market for our service offerings beyond my own practice gives me a broader perspective on how the market is developing, and trends in disputes that create opportunities to develop our business further. For example, we have recently recruited a former head of audit from a large accounting firm to develop an offering around audit negligence, as we have seen an increasing demand for that type of expertise.

Your practice spans a range of sectors – to what extent is sector-specific knowledge on the part of the expert important when handling commercial disputes? 

Sector knowledge is clearly vital as a quantum expert in commercial disputes. However, few experts are truly specialists in any given industry and usually the quantum expert will require some level of input from genuine experts in the industry – sometimes in the form of an independent expert or else from client personnel with detailed industry knowledge. A key skill for a quantum expert is being able to quickly understand and identify the core dynamics of any business; this is particularly important when looking at intellectual property valuation issues at a granular level, and where it is difficult to use market data to create high-level generic valuation analyses. 

How has the growing presence of private equity firms in financial disputes impacted your practice? 

The number of engagements we are involved in that have private equity firms on one or both sides of the dispute has increased significantly over the past decade. Private equity firms are not only sophisticated purchasers of professional services generally, they are also very familiar with valuation theory and practice; as a result, they often have their own well-informed views on the quantification of damages. This can provide helpful insight, as often the private equity firm has a deep understanding of the company and market at the centre of the dispute, but the expert always needs to remember that such views are not independent, and the firm is motivated by the outcome. That can be even more acute when a private equity firm has identified a situation where they see litigation as a value-creating opportunity and invest on the back of it.

How has the nature of expert work relating to shareholder disputes changed since you first began your career?

The sophistication of valuation analyses in shareholder disputes has increased significantly over the past 25 years. This is a function of many factors, such as the level of computing power to drive large models and manipulate large volumes of data; the amount of data that is available; and the increased sophistication of both experts and clients, such as private equity firms. Nevertheless, the expert must always balance the use of cutting-edge techniques with sound commercial judgement and common sense; a more complex model does not always give a better answer. 

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? 

Clients often want the most experienced testifying expert available, which creates challenges for younger experts in building their testifying credentials. In the disputes market, arbitration offers better opportunities for emerging experts, as joint expert reports are widely accepted and provide professionals with the opportunity to act as testifying experts alongside their more experienced colleagues. I have seen in practice how this leads to testifying opportunities that would never have been granted to junior experts as the sole expert.

To what extent are you seeing the trend in the legal market towards specialised arbitration boutiques reflected in the expert market? 

This is definitely a trend that we are starting to see in the expert market. The more concentrated nature of the market makes it more viable for a smaller firm to develop and maintain relationships with a significant part of the legal market that is active and responsible for experts in that space. We have certainly seen the emergence of three boutique expert firms over the past few years, with experts from larger, broader firms, including the big accounting firms and the larger boutiques, establishing small, dedicated expert witness houses with a particular focus on arbitration. 

What is the best piece of career advice you have received? 

That it is never too early to start building your network of trusted relationships. All professional services firms are people-businesses, and in the expert witness space the relationship between the expert and their instructing solicitors has to be one built on trust. This obviously takes time and so at BRG we have a dedicated programme to help junior staff develop and maintain relationships that should allow them to have a strong successful practice as they develop into experts in their own right. 

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Daniel Ryan is highly regarded by peers who note he is “really good on valuation and IP issues”.

Biography

Daniel Ryan is a managing director at Berkeley Research Group, where he leads the company’s London office.

Mr Ryan has over 25 years of experience valuing businesses, shares and intellectual property assets in contentious and non-contentious matters, including sale and purchase transactions, shareholder and post-acquisition disputes, intellectual property licensing, infringement of intellectual property rights, fiscal valuation and transfer pricing. He also has significant experience quantifying damages arising out of claims in contract or tort.

Mr Ryan has worked across a range of different industries: from technology and media businesses through manufacturing, infrastructure and natural resources businesses.

Mr Ryan is regularly appointed as an expert witness and is experienced in oral testimony, covering matters in the UK High Court, before arbitral tribunals in the United Kingdom and internationally, in fiscal courts and before the Copyright Tribunal. He has been involved in disputes under ICSID, LCIA, ICC and UNCITRAL rules.

Before joining BRG, Mr Ryan was a senior managing director at FTI Consulting, which he joined following its acquisition of LECG’s UK business in 2011. He joined LECG in 2002 and was leader of the finance and accounting services business in the United Kingdom. Before that, he was a manager in the strategy, finance and economics practice at Arthur Andersen.

Mr Ryan holds a BA in accounting and finance from Heriot-Watt University. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, a member of the Academy of Experts and a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

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