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Thought Leaders - Construction Experts 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Gene Lash is both “extremely hard-working and diligent”, and excels in “developing detailed reports” on economic damages valuation and quantification.

Questions & Answers

Gene Lash, MBA, CPA, CFF senior director of Delta Consulting Group, has over 32 years of experience in the construction industry. His expertise includes fact-finding, forensic accounting, quantification of damages and special purpose audits on a variety of construction-related disputes. He has testified over 35 times in various arbitration forums; in state and federal courts; and in negotiations and mediations. His opinions and testimony have related to the quantification of damages, including claims for extra work, delay, acceleration, disruption, interest, and lost profits. He has also assisted in identifying elements of false claims.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career as a construction damages expert?
Throughout my career I have developed close relationships with clients from many different educational levels, professional backgrounds, cultures, and geographical areas. These close relationships have allowed me, as a construction damages expert, to help my clients understand the true value of their claims and/or claims that have been asserted against them. Working with them to achieve reasonable outcomes stands out as the most rewarding part of my career. Sometimes the outcome has been a settlement before discovery to avoid millions of dollars of unnecessary litigation costs. Sometimes the outcome is an agreement reached after an expert report is issued or a deposition has been taken. Other times, when claims cannot be settled and the outcome is preparing convincing, concise and well documented testimony that judges, juries, and other triers of fact ultimately agree are the damages in a case is the most rewarding part of my career.
What do clients look for in a construction damages expert?
Clients want a construction damages expert that is objective and independent, and has the relevant construction industry experience. However, more importantly, the expert’s ability to communicate the details and nuances of a variety of construction claims in a clear and concise manner is usually the deciding factor in selecting a damages expert. The expert’s careful use of demonstratives, concise testimony and carefully selected evidence is the most effective tool in convincing a trier of fact of his/her opinions on damages.
What stands out as your most challenging client experience?
Analysing and preparing construction claims is very expensive. However, on occasions clients have tried to limit my scope of analysis to save money. Some of these experiences have turned out to be very challenging and expensive. On one construction claim, the client did not have good records but did not want me to perform due diligence on the claim that he prepared. During the arbitration hearing, the opposing expert did perform the analysis and reduced his claim by 50 per cent, which impacted my client’s credibility on other testimony. On a different case, the client misrepresented the nature of follow-on work, after a contractor was terminated. These misrepresentations resulted in revisions to the damage analysis, significant additional fees, and the need to clarify the damages with the arbitration panel.
What part of your work gives you the most joy?
Over the years I have worked with colleagues from several different firms. Many times, I have been in a mentoring role helping them understand the nature of claims, accounting documentation or what to expect during a case. Countless hours have been spent together developing analyses, writing reports and preparing for trial. Today many of these colleagues are now seasoned expert testifiers – this is the part of my work that always gives me a smile.
How do you ensure the quality of your work product?
Quality control is woven into my analysis at many levels. First, each professional is responsible for the accuracy and reliability of their own work-product. This means that as the analysis is performed appropriate source documents are gathered, referenced and maintained in a consistent and uniform fashion. Second, the preparation of expert reports and exhibits is accompanied by a peer review performed by another senior professional who is otherwise not involved in the project. Finally, as a damages expert, I perform an extensive review of work product and opposing experts’ opinions. Accurate and supportable opinions are a hallmark of my career that are the cornerstone of each of my expert opinions.
What advice would you give to younger professionals that are establishing their construction damages credentials and experience?
Never stop learning no matter how many cases you have performed; you will always need to maintain your professional skepticism. Taking courses in continuing education, and obtaining professional credentials such as master’s degrees, CPA, CMA and CFE, help to broaden one’s expertise to meet the challenges you will be faced with in each case.
Never stop listening! The gathering of facts and evidence in a case is always evolving and an open mind to new and conflicting information will make the development of your expert opinions more powerful and robust.
Finally, be an advocate for your opinion. As a damage expert, we are independent, unbiased professionals that assist the trier of fact in making decisions. But when questioned about your opinions, have solid support, think through the possible challenges, and have well thought out responses to questions that may arise.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

"He is exceptionally hard working"

"He dives right into the materials, knowing the areas on which to concentrate"

"He anticipates counter testimony from the other side's experts"

Biography

Gene Lash, senior director of Delta Consulting Group, has over 33 years of experience assisting clients with forensic accounting and economic damage issues. His expertise includes financial fact-finding, forensic accounting, quantification of damages and special purpose audits on a wide variety of commercial and construction-related disputes.
Mr Lash has testified in both state and federal courts, and various arbitration forums, and he has presented his findings in mediation and negotiation settings.

His construction experience includes proving extra work claims, delay and acceleration claims, disruption claims, lost profit claims and identifying the elements of false claims. Mr Lash’s construction clients range from private owners, governmental entities, contractors and sub-contractors to insurance carriers and architect/engineering firms, acting on a broad variety of projects including airports; casinos; residential, commercial and mixed-use development; hospitals; pipelines; processing plants; power plants; light rail; dams; reservoirs; roadways; bridges; schools; and universities. He has written articles on proving and pricing construction claims, including a chapter on lost profits.

His commercial experience includes quantifying damages related to breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and patent, trade dress and trademark infringement. He has been retained by a wide range of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, close-held family businesses, internet start-up ventures and insurance companies.

He studied at the University of California at Berkeley, where his obtained his MBA and a dual undergraduate degree in economics and applied mathematics. Mr Lash is a certified public accountant in the State of California and is certified in financial forensics.

Delta Consulting Group is an international consulting firm of multi-disciplined professionals in engineering, accounting, construction, project management and litigation support.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Gene Lash continues to garner recommendations from peers for his assiduous collection of pertinent information and practical approach.

Biography

Gene Lash, senior director of Delta Consulting Group, has over 32 years of experience assisting clients with forensic accounting and economic damage issues. His expertise includes financial fact-finding, forensic accounting, quantification of damages and special purpose audits on a wide variety of commercial and construction-related disputes.

Mr Lash’s commercial experience includes quantifying damages related to breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and patent, trade dress and trademark infringement. He has been retained by a wide range of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, close-held family businesses, internet start-up ventures and insurance companies.

His construction experience includes proving extra work claims, delay and acceleration claims, disruption claims, lost profit claims and identifying the elements of false claims. Mr Lash’s construction clients range from private owners, governmental entities, contractors and sub-contractors to insurance carriers and architect/engineering firms, acting on a broad variety of projects including airports; casinos; residential, commercial and mixed-use development; hospitals; pipelines; processing plants; power plants; light rail; dams; reservoirs; roadways; bridges; schools; and universities. He has written articles on proving and pricing construction claims, including a chapter on lost profits.

Mr Lash has testified in both state and federal courts, and various arbitration forums, and he has presented his findings in mediation and negotiation settings.

He studied at the University of California at Berkeley, where his obtained his MBA and a dual undergraduate degree in economics and applied mathematics. Mr Lash is a certified public accountant in the State of California and is certified in financial forensics.

Delta Consulting Group is an international consulting firm of multi-disciplined professionals in engineering, accounting, construction, project management and litigation support.

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