Rich Sieracki is a delay and quantum expert with over 45 years of experience in the construction and engineering industries. Rich has acted as an expert on numerous occasions in international and domestic arbitrations, federal and state courts, mediations and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings. Rich has worked for clients from a variety of sectors on projects throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America. His expertise has particular focus in the construction, electrical utilities and government contract sectors.
What has been your most interesting case to date, and why?
My most interesting case was a dispute on a coal-fired power plant in Guatemala. This international arbitration was conducted before an esteemed, very experienced tribunal. The matter resulted in travel to Guatemala, Hong Kong, Paris and ultimately the hearings, which were held in Dublin. A unique aspect included attending the entire arbitration hearings versus attending only the expert testimony.
As a founding member of a firm in the past, what advice would you give to someone looking to start their own firm?
When starting your own firm, especially one that provides professional services, remember the clients come first. A new firm requires significant time in administration, payroll, IT and other internal functions, but never allow the time spent in service of clients to be affected.
During your career, you have consulted for some huge clients, including Fortune 500 companies. What is the key to acting effectively as a consultant for these clients?
To effectively act as a consultant for large Fortune 500 clients, one must recognise that those organisations have multiple layers of management and overall company objectives that extend well beyond a current assignment we might be involved in. As I learned when I entered this field, I frequently serve as an advisor and not the ultimate decision maker in many matters for the larger clients.
What is the most challenging aspect of damages and delays analysis today, compared to 10 years ago?
Compared to 10 years ago, the most challenging aspect of damages and delay analysis is the proliferation of emails. Emails on a project are voluminous and the ability to review those files within a reasonable budget is challenging. In addition, people are much more casual in working on emails than formal letters, contributing to the challenge.
How do you prepare for giving expert testimony?
In preparing for expert testimony I study my deposition as applicable; review work papers, my expert report and the reports prepared by the opposing experts; and anticipate questions that I may be asked, and the answers that I will give.
Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?
I believe the future of the practice area will be twofold. First, I believe that disputes and the corresponding adjudication approach to those disputes will continue. Second, with a current trend of contractors not willing to accept risks of lump-sum contracts on major megaprojects, there will be a greater need to use the services of damages and delay consultants to assess, document and resolve disputes on a contemporaneous basis.
Your career has been an outstanding one to date. What else would you like to accomplish?
As my career starts to wind down, I would like to continue to pass along key client contacts and my experience to the younger generation that has supported me through my career. I would also like to continue to be involved in major project disputes, involving clients and counsel that I enjoy working with.
Richard Sieracki is internationally recognised as an excellent expert. He has strong knowledge and experience of working on hotels, shopping centres, prisons and power-plant projects.