Laura Hardin
Office:
700 Louisiana Street
Suite 3300
77002
City:
Houston
State:
Texas
Country:
USA
Tel:
+1 713 547 3756
Fax:
+1 713 547 3698

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Laura Hardin is a managing director with Alvarez & Marsal Disputes and Investigations, LLC. Ms Hardin has over 20 years of experience providing quantum assessments on matters before ICC, ICDR, LCIA, SCC, ICSID and ad hoc tribunals. She has experience in disputes in a variety of industries including energy, telecommunications, real estate development, metals and mining, and manufacturing. Ms Hardin is fluent in Russian and has worked extensively on engagements involving Russia and the CIS.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO FOCUS YOUR PRACTICE ON DISPUTES?

The first disputes case I worked on was while I was stationed at the PwC Moscow office and worked as part of a team engaged as the party-appointed expert for the Russian Federation. I was not even aware that this type of consulting work existed prior to that assignment. When I transferred back to the States and joined the Houston practice, there was a large local disputes group. I discovered that I really enjoyed considering the legal arguments and calculating the damages associated with the alleged “bad acts”. In particular, I have always enjoyed trying to identify all the ways in which the calculation could be attacked to make sure I have addressed the key issues from every possible angle. I also began to specialise in international arbitration, because the inputs for these calculations, which necessarily incorporate different political and economic variables, were often much more complex than straight US litigation. Dispute work continues to be engaging for me because it incorporates analytical and research skills, with the ability to present highly technical findings in a compelling and comprehensible format. Each new case involves a new set of facts, and often a new twist on previous experiences, which constantly challenges me and my team to keep innovating and perfecting our skills. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER EXPERTS WHO HOPE ONE DAY TO BE IN YOUR POSITION?

The most important piece of advice I have for up-and-coming experts is to focus on building lasting relationships with their current and potential clients. A portfolio of repeat clients can only be built over many years of cultivation through first becoming an indispensable adviser and by consistently providing high-quality work. This should always be viewed as a “long-game” process. Your own personal contact network can be developed either during the course of an engagement, in cultivating relationships with junior staff, or at industry events, or in participating in CLE training courses. The earlier in your career that you can start interacting with your contemporaries in other firms that can be potential sources of work, the better. 

IN YOUR OPINION, SHOULD HIGHER ETHICAL STANDARDS BE IMPOSED ON EXPERTS? IF SO, WHY IS THIS?

I think that client counsel has a responsibility to ensure experts are held to the highest ethical standards. Paramount to this responsibility is taking the time to understand the damage issues in some detail, not just at a superficial high level. This applies both to recognising any limitations in the damages that can be claimed under their own legal approach, as well as ensuring that unscrupulous experts on the other side are not successful in making overly aggressive or fallacious arguments or arguments that are not consistent with generally accepted methodological approaches. It is critical that counsel use their own experts to identify such arguments being raised by the opposing expert and thoroughly understanding the key issues to be able to expose these flaws. In my opinion, when counsel allows such arguments to stand untouched by effective cross-examination (or witness conferencing), they are doing their clients a great disservice and are tarnishing the reputation of the expert profession as being nothing more than a group of “hired guns”.

YOU HAVE ALWAYS HAD A STRONG FOCUS ON PROVIDING ADVISORY SERVICES TO CLIENTS IN RUSSIA. HOW HAS THIS ASPECT OF YOUR PRACTICE CHANGED OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS?

I have always enjoyed working on engagements with Russian clients or involving enterprises in Russia because of my background of having majored in Russian language as an undergraduate, and having spent so much time studying, working and living in Russia. My fluency in Russian and my experience with the economic and political climate in Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have been significant assets for me as an expert. As a result, my practice has always involved a fair amount of Russia-related work, has also involved engagements in other CIS countries, such as Ukraine and Kazakhstan, among others. Being based in Houston and my experience in oil and gas disputes, I have also been involved in a substantial number of disputes involving Latin America. In recent years, while the Russia-related work has continued, I have also worked on several large disputes in Europe and in other areas of the world.  I have been focusing on energy-related disputes that have arisen as a result of EU regulatory changes, and have continued to be engaged on oil and gas disputes and on disputes involving certain other industries such as telecoms and financial institutions. 

ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS RELATING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY ARE REPORTEDLY INCREASING. HOW HAS THIS AFFECTED YOUR PRACTICE?

Over the last several decades, the increasing focus on energy conservation and developing more sustainable, renewable forms of energy, particularly in the EU, has significantly impacted the power-generating industries and systems on an EU-wide and country-specific basis.  The varying regulatory changes in various countries that have shaped this movement have resulted in numerous disputes between investors and states.  The impact of renewable energies and changes in the regulatory environment have played a central role in several engagements my team and I have worked on. I expect that we will continue to see disputes of this type in the upcoming years as these industries continue to evolve. 

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Expert Witnesses

Laura Hardin is a managing director with Alvarez & Marsal’s disputes and investigations practice in Houston, Texas.

She has more than 20 years of experience in providing business valuation, damages assessments, forensic accounting and consulting services on a variety of engagements.

Ms Hardin has provided expert guidance on damage quantification for both investment treaty and commercial matters and has submitted evidence in international arbitration cases brought before ICC, ICDR, LCIA, SCC, ICSID and ad hoc tribunals. These disputes involved amounts at issue of more than several billion dollars and have included allegations of expropriation, shareholder disputes, breach of contract controversies and purchase price disputes.

Ms Hardin has experience in disputes in several industries, including oil and gas, power generation, telecoms, aviation, real estate development, metals and mining, and general manufacturing and has worked both as a consultant and party-appointed expert for private entities as well as sovereign governments and government-owned entities.

Before joining Alvarez & Marsal, Ms Hardin was a vice president with CRA and held prior roles with FTI Consulting, Navigant Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Houston and Moscow.

Fluent in Russian, Ms Hardin has testified in Russian courts, and has worked extensively on engagements involving entities in Russia and the CIS in particular, as well as Latin America, Europe and Africa and the Middle East.

Ms Hardin holds an MBA from the George Washington University and a BA in Russian language and literature from Wesleyan University. She is also a certified valuation analyst with the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts.

WWL says: Laura Hardin is a highly sought-after expert witness who has vast experience in high-stakes arbitration proceedings conducted under a variety of rules as well as ad hoc cases.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Financial Advisory and Valuation - Quantum of Damages

Laura Hardin is a managing director with Alvarez & Marsal's disputes and investigations practice in Houston, Texas.

She has more than 20 years of experience in business valuation, damages assessments, forensic accounting and consulting services on a variety of engagements.

Ms Hardin has provided expert guidance on damage quantification for both investment treaty and commercial matters and has submitted evidence in international arbitration cases brought before ICC, ICDR, LCIA, SCC, ICSID, and ad hoc tribunals. These disputes involved amounts at issue of more than several billion dollars and allegations of expropriation, shareholder disputes, breach of contract controversies and purchase price disputes.

She has experience in disputes in several industries including oil and gas, power generation, telecoms, aviation, real estate development, metals and mining, and general manufacturing and has worked both as a consultant and party-appointed expert for private entities as well as sovereign governments and government-owned entities.

Before joining Alvarez & Marsal, Ms Hardin was a vice president with CRA and held prior roles with FTI Consulting, Navigant Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Houston and in Moscow.

Fluent in Russian, she has testified in Russian courts, and has worked extensively on engagements involving entities in Russia and the CIS in particular, as well as Latin America, Europe and Africa and the Middle East.

Ms Hardin holds an MBA from The George Washington University and a BA in Russian language and literature from Wesleyan University. She is also a certified valuation analyst (CVA) with the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts.

WWL says: Laura Hardin is an outstanding practitioner who is "highly recommended" by sources. She is adept on matters including shareholder and purchase price disputes.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Energy: Experts

Laura Hardin is a managing director with Alvarez & Marsal’s disputes and investigations practice in Houston, Texas.

She has more than 20 years of experience in providing business valuation, damages assessments, forensic accounting and consulting services on a variety of engagements.

Ms Hardin has provided expert guidance on damage quantification for both investment treaty and commercial matters and has submitted evidence in international arbitration cases brought before ICC, ICDR, LCIA, SCC, ICSID and ad hoc tribunals. These disputes involved amounts at issue of more than several billion dollars and have included allegations of expropriation, shareholder disputes, breach of contract controversies and purchase price disputes.

Ms Hardin has experience in disputes in several industries, including oil and gas, power generation, telecoms, aviation, real estate development, metals and mining, and general manufacturing and has worked both as a consultant and party-appointed expert for private entities as well as sovereign governments and government-owned entities.

Before joining Alvarez & Marsal, Ms Hardin was a vice president with CRA and held prior roles with FTI Consulting, Navigant Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Houston and Moscow.

Fluent in Russian, Ms Hardin has testified in Russian courts, and has worked extensively on engagements involving entities in Russia and the CIS in particular, as well as Latin America, Europe and Africa and the Middle East.

Ms Hardin holds an MBA from the George Washington University and a BA in Russian language and literature from Wesleyan University. She is also a certified valuation analyst with the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts.

Who's Who Legal has recognised Ms Hardin as a Thought Leader in WWL: Thought Leaders – Arbitration 2018.

WWL says: Laura Hardin is an experienced expert witness who enjoys a superb reputation for her expertise in damage quantification matters in the oil and gas and power sectors.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Energy which can be purchased from our Shop.

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