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Thought Leaders

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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Patrick McGeehin is “among the best there is” according to peers who state that he is “one of the top damages experts in the US”.

Questions & Answers

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.

Patrick A McGeehin is a senior managing director and global leader of FTI Consulting’s construction and government contracts group. His primary emphasis over 40 years of experience has been in damages computations on large contract disputes. He has provided expert testimony in live hearing and deposition situations on over 200 occasions, including in international arbitrations. He has assisted in large disputes with governments and private owners, developers, construction companies, sureties, and government contractors.

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

I am always hesitant to say “most” interesting, as many of the cases have interesting and unique aspects to them. However, a couple of cases over the past few years are memorable. One involved a power plant in Guatemala where our client had to terminate the contractor for non-performance and complete the project with replacement resources. The dispute was heard by an international arbitration tribunal under sanction of the ICC. We claimed for the costs to complete the project, and also defended the defaulted contractor claims. Our client received a very favourable decision that was appealed by the contractor; that appeal was denied by a Singapore Court, so our client recovered virtually all of what it sought, plus legal and consulting fees.

Another case involved a US government dispute, whereby we represented a contractor who had not been paid for a large undefinitised portion of its contract. The US government attempted to apply what we believed were improper accounting and costing approaches and standards, and requested the return of virtually all the money that had been advanced during the course of project performance. The government also alleged improper/fraudulent conduct in the accounting and billings by our client. The Board of Contract Appeals ruled in our client’s favour and our client received additional amounts under the decision (as opposed to owing considerable amounts). Obviously, our client was very pleased with the result and thankful to us for our efforts, since nearly all the issues were damages/accounting in nature.

What did you find most difficult about entering practice as a construction expert witness?

For me, I was a very young professional when I got involved with construction projects and I had my first expert witness appearance while still in my 20s. Back then,

the biggest challenge was trying to look seasoned while still in your 20s!

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a market offering more international opportunities, from the perspective of both a construction expert and a managing director?

The advantages are several. First, the cases are typically large in terms of exposure, so they are often very interesting and challenging. Second, they normally carry larger fees due to the size of the matters as well as the requirements for a lot of pre-filed testimony of witnesses, and the coordination of witness statements with expert reports. Finally, with the “hot-tubbing” of experts, it allows for differences in opinions to be sharpened and focused and gives opportunities to make specific points to educate the tribunal as to the bases of your opinions.

The disadvantages mirror the benefits, to some extent. Because the cases are large, they often require the assignment of a fairly large group of professionals for extended periods of time. Once the assignments are complete, it is important to be able to deploy these professionals on to new assignments. This can be challenging, especially if there were any delays in the schedule of the hearings as originally set.

How does your firm intend to build upon its footprint in the construction space?

We have been doing what we view as a good job of identifying markets that work for us and opening construction-focused operations there. As a large international firm, FTI has many offices around the globe, but not all have a construction focus. We are now trying to strategically look at new markets in an opportunistic fashion. As a result, we have opened new offices over the past couple of years in Munich, Madrid, Dublin, Paris and Montreal, all of which are performing very well.

FTI recently launched its asset life cycle management services practice. What are the goals of this group, and what challenges does it face?

The goals are to assist clients with managing their development/construction projects “from cradle to grave”, including assistance with implementing software solutions to facilitate with management and operational needs and goals. We have had this practice area within the construction practice at FTI for the past two to three years, and have achieved very good traction in both the United States and Europe. We recently rebranded the practice area as asset life cycle management.

What do clients look for in an effective construction expert?

We believe that clients (who are usually law firms on behalf of the ultimate contractor or owner clients) look first at the reputation and expertise of the testifying professional. This is typically based on experience that the lawyer had with the expert, or is based on word of mouth from other law firms or partners of the enquiring lawyer. In addition, the qualifications and availability of the team members are heavily considered and weighted, as the law firms know that the bulk of the document review and organisation will be performed by professionals working under the direction of the testifying expert. And, of course, estimated fee levels are important, as the client wants to make sure that the amounts being paid – although maybe not the lowest they might be able to secure – are at a reasonable and customary level.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t try and guess where a lawyer is going with a line of questioning and get ahead of them (and yourself). Listen to the questions, and answer them as they come – honestly and completely.

Thought Leaders - Construction 2019

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Patrick McGeehin is “among the best there is” according to peers who state that he is “one of the top damages experts in the US”.

Questions & Answers

Patrick A McGeehin is a senior managing director and global leader of FTI Consulting’s construction and government contracts group. His primary emphasis over 40 years of experience has been in damages computations on large contract disputes. He has provided expert testimony in live hearing and deposition situations on over 200 occasions, including in international arbitrations. He has assisted in large disputes with governments and private owners, developers, construction companies, sureties, and government contractors.

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

I am always hesitant to say “most” interesting, as many of the cases have interesting and unique aspects to them. However, a couple of cases over the past few years are memorable. One involved a power plant in Guatemala where our client had to terminate the contractor for non-performance and complete the project with replacement resources. The dispute was heard by an international arbitration tribunal under sanction of the ICC. We claimed for the costs to complete the project, and also defended the defaulted contractor claims. Our client received a very favourable decision that was appealed by the contractor; that appeal was denied by a Singapore Court, so our client recovered virtually all of what it sought, plus legal and consulting fees.

Another case involved a US government dispute, whereby we represented a contractor who had not been paid for a large undefinitised portion of its contract. The US government attempted to apply what we believed were improper accounting and costing approaches and standards, and requested the return of virtually all the money that had been advanced during the course of project performance. The government also alleged improper/fraudulent conduct in the accounting and billings by our client. The Board of Contract Appeals ruled in our client’s favour and our client received additional amounts under the decision (as opposed to owing considerable amounts). Obviously, our client was very pleased with the result and thankful to us for our efforts, since nearly all the issues were damages/accounting in nature.

What did you find most difficult about entering practice as a construction expert witness?

For me, I was a very young professional when I got involved with construction projects and I had my first expert witness appearance while still in my 20s. Back then, the biggest challenge was trying to look seasoned while still in your 20s!

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a market offering more international opportunities, from the perspective of both a construction expert and a managing director?

The advantages are several. First, the cases are typically large in terms of exposure, so they are often very interesting and challenging. Second, they normally carry larger fees due to the size of the matters as well as the requirements for a lot of pre-filed testimony of witnesses, and the coordination of witness statements with expert reports. Finally, with the “hot-tubbing” of experts, it allows for differences in opinions to be sharpened and focused and gives opportunities to make specific points to educate the tribunal as to the bases of your opinions.

The disadvantages mirror the benefits, to some extent. Because the cases are large, they often require the assignment of a fairly large group of professionals for extended periods of time. Once the assignments are complete, it is important to be able to deploy these professionals on to new assignments. This can be challenging, especially if there were any delays in the schedule of the hearings as originally set.

How does your firm intend to build upon its footprint in the construction space?

We have been doing what we view as a good job of identifying markets that work for us and opening construction-focused operations there. As a large international firm, FTI has many offices around the globe, but not all have a construction focus. We are now trying to strategically look at new markets in an opportunistic fashion. As a result, we have opened new offices over the past couple of years in Munich, Madrid, Dublin, Paris and Montreal, all of which are performing very well.

FTI recently launched its asset life cycle management services practice. What are the goals of this group, and what challenges does it face?

The goals are to assist clients with managing their development/construction projects “from cradle to grave”, including assistance with implementing software solutions to facilitate with management and operational needs and goals. We have had this practice area within the construction practice at FTI for the past two to three years, and have achieved very good traction in both the United States and Europe. We recently rebranded the practice area as asset life cycle management.

What do clients look for in an effective construction expert?

We believe that clients (who are usually law firms on behalf of the ultimate contractor or owner clients) look first at the reputation and expertise of the testifying professional. This is typically based on experience that the lawyer had with the expert, or is based on word of mouth from other law firms or partners of the enquiring lawyer. In addition, the qualifications and availability of the team members are heavily considered and weighted, as the law firms know that the bulk of the document review and organisation will be performed by professionals working under the direction of the testifying expert. And, of course, estimated fee levels are important, as the client wants to make sure that the amounts being paid – although maybe not the lowest they might be able to secure – are at a reasonable and customary level.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t try and guess where a lawyer is going with a line of questioning and get ahead of them (and yourself). Listen to the questions, and answer them as they come – honestly and completely.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Patrick McGeehin is "among the best there is" according to peers who state that he is "one of the top damages experts in the US".

Biography

Patrick A McGeehin, CPA is a senior managing director in FTI Consulting's forensic and litigation consulting segment, and is the company's global head of the construction solutions practice. He consults and provides expert testimony on construction and government contract matters, and provides contract claims assistance relating to the calculation of and approach to damages, including breach of contract, lost profits, requests for equitable adjustment in delay and disruption cases, and fraud-related issues. He regularly testifies on claim pricing, cost allocation and other damages issues relating to matters performed throughout the world. He has provided expert testimony in both court and board/arbitration forums, including appearances in international arbitration settings before the ICC, and before boards of contract appeals, state circuit courts and federal district courts in the United States. He has also testified before binding and advisory DRB panels on power, industrial and large civil construction projects in various countries. In 2017 he was named inaugural Construction Expert of the Year at the Who’s Who Legal Awards.

He is the accounting editor of Construction Accounting – A Guide for Attorneys and Other Professionals. He also co-authored a chapter in the book, published by the American Bar Association's Forum on the Construction Industry. He authored a chapter in The Comprehensive Guide to Lost Profits Damages for Experts and Attorneys, published by Business Valuation Resources; other articles have been published in the American Bar Association's Public Contract Law Journal.

He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Scranton and received an MBA from The George Washington University.

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

Features by Patrick McGeehin

Construction 2018: Roundtable

Construction 2018: Roundtable

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