Juliette Fortin is a “very professional and efficient expert”, sought after by clients who observe she “is always on top of matters”.
The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, Inc, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.
Juliette has 23 years’ experience in financial analysis and since 2006 has specialised in the quantification of damages claims in domestic and international disputes, accounting issues, and valuation in M&A contexts. Juliette is qualified as a chartered accountant in England and France. She has testified more than 10 times before commercial and investment treaty tribunals in English and French. She is a senior managing director and heads the Paris valuation and disputes team of FTI Consulting.
What motivated you to specialise in arbitration expert witness work?
I specialised in arbitration expert witness work when I moved to FTI consulting in 2010. I was very lucky to work alongside more experienced experts, from whom I learnt a lot, in terms of technical aspects, problem-solving and communication. What I enjoy most about international arbitration is the variety of complex damages issues; the high expectations of tribunals, counsel and clients, which create healthy competition among experts; and the thrill of the hearing phase, where you get the opportunity to convey to the tribunal your opinion and underlying assumptions. Working with top-quality lawyers is also very rewarding.
What changes have you noticed in arbitration expert practice since you started in the field?
Over the past 10 years, I have noticed an increase in the number of international arbitration cases held in French. While cases in French represented a marginal part of my activity four or five years ago, they now represent approximately half of my activity.
You have worked on many arbitration matters in Africa. What particularities are there to expert witness work in Africa?
In the past few years, I have been involved in a number of commercial and investment disputes involving activities in Africa, both for corporate clients and governments. One characteristic of work involving Africa, or emerging markets in general, is the significant weight of geopolitical factors on the assessment of damages. Another recurring theme is the challenge of collecting evidence, although this can also be the case in developed countries.
You are on the executive board for, and treasurer of, ArbitralWomen. What are its aims and why are such organisations so important?
ArbitralWomen is a worldwide organisation that has the objective of promoting women in dispute resolution through various means, such as events, mentoring and sponsorship. I think such organisations are important to make progress on the topic of equal access to opportunities for everyone. In the same vein, I am also a diversity ambassador within FTI Consulting and a signatory of the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge.
How does FTI distinguish itself from the competition?
I think that what makes FTI Consulting unique is its capacity to offer not only the right quantum expert for a case in any of the arbitration places around the globe, but also the right team of top-quality consultants and industry specialists (energy, construction, financial services, etc) working alongside the quantum expert. Our team and network are of top quality and significantly larger than those of our competitors, but still very agile, and this enables efficient collaboration across borders and practices.
What are the greatest challenges you face when handling damages quantifications in international commercial and investment arbitrations?
The challenges vary according to the case. They can lie in the determination of the damages framework. They can also centre around the gathering of evidence. Sometimes, the challenge is simply to translate sophisticated reasoning and calculations into a clear and concise message. It can also be about educating the client about the role of the quantum expert in international arbitration and the necessity of providing reasonable assumptions.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
I would like to further develop our Paris valuation and disputes team and continue to grow our next generation of experts. I would also like to broaden our pool of Paris-based industry specialists, which consists of construction and energy experts at this stage.
I would also like to work more on Latin America cases, as I speak Spanish but do not use it as much as I would like in the international arbitration environment.
What advice would you give to younger experts hoping to one day be in your position?
I would first suggest that they should own their career and seize all opportunities to gain experience. Becoming an expert is about applying your technical knowledge and professional judgement to different complex situations and being able to communicate your conclusions clearly both in writing and orally. Hence, the more you practise, the better you get.
Second, I would recommend they find a mentor who can be a guide, a sounding board, throughout their career. I found myself that this was extremely helpful.
Third, I would advise that they build relationships with lawyers of their generation, as they represent the future cohort of law firm partners who will eventually provide opportunities to work on their cases.
"Juliette has a sharp mind and is very easy to work with"
"She is a very professional and efficient expert"
"She is always on top of matters"
Juliette Fortin is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting where she leads the Paris valuation and disputes team. Juliette specialises in valuation issues, the assessment of complex damages, transaction-related disputes and questions of accountancy. She has over 24 years' experience in financial analysis and over 14 years' in preparing reports relating to international arbitration, litigation and valuation. Juliette regularly gives oral evidence before ICC and ICSID tribunals and French courts. She testifies before commercial and investment treaty tribunals in English and French.
She assists French and multinational companies and governments, and leading law firms, around the world, particularly in Europe, MENA and Africa. Her experience covers various sectors including construction, mining and energy.
She also regularly acts as expert at advocacy workshops organised by FIAA, the CIArb and other various international law firms in Paris, and delivers lectures on damages-related topics at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin and Paris Sud.
Juliette is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and qualified as a French expert-comptable. She is fluent in English, French and Spanish. She is member of the executive board and treasurer of ArbitralWomen.
Ms Fortin joined FTI Consulting in September 2010, having previously worked at PwC in Paris (transaction services, 1999 to 2006; and disputes, 2006 to 2010) and in London (audit, 1996 to 1999).