2019 was another exciting year for us, the biggest event being our merger with Blackrock Expert Services Group in April. A move to The Adelphi in June allowed us to work more closely with our new colleagues which, despite the odd traffic jam around the coffee machine, has been a great success, and has already facilitated several project collaborations. In September, we celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Blackrock Expert Services Group with our colleagues and clients, and later we launched our new logo and updated group wide branding.
I am proud to see the firm ranked third (again) in the 2019 GAR 100 Expert Witness Firms’ Power Index. GAR recognised our much sought-after oil and gas expertise, and that everything we do “… seems to be of huge potential value.” My fellow founding partner, Frank Ilett, and I were named Global Elite Thought Leaders for the EMEA region by Who’s Who Legal, which also recognised all our expert witnesses as Global Leaders and acknowledged five Future Leaders within the firm.
Our experts gave oral evidence 13 times in London and abroad in the year, and work began on nearly 30 new projects across a wide range of sectors, including telecommunications, construction, technology and financial services. Our team continued to develop, with seven new members of staff and 13 internal promotions (including seven new Forensic Directors), plus three Haberman Ilett babies. The impressive number of internal promotions is testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire team.
We continued to run our successful Training for Lawyers programme, holding seven sessions for solicitors and barristers in the past 12 months. Outside the office, our football team hosted our second annual five-a-side tournament which involved some (mostly) friendly competition between our team and six external law firms. Our Women’s Network held two informative and well attended events, including a session presented by a sleep specialist, and we enjoyed putting everyone’s brains through their paces at our annual cryptic quiz.
We had a busy year participating in the many discussions and debates in the litigation and arbitration community. Our highlights included Bruno Augustin speaking on the panel discussing expert evidence in multinational class action proceedings as part of CDR’s Winter Competition Litigation Symposium 2019, and Vikki Wall on a panel on “Investment Arbitration in Asia: Where are we and where next” at the 5th Annual GAR Live in Singapore, where she discussed the challenges in quantifying damages in investment disputes.
Community work is important to us. Last year, we raised over £7,500 for our charity partner, Let the Children Hear, which works to improve the hearing outcomes of children in developing countries. Fundraising activities included participating in the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge and novelty events at our football tournament and cryptic quiz. In addition, one of our Haberman Ilett alumni embarked on an epic 10,000km cycle ride from Land’s End to Cape Town, via the Let the Children Hear clinic in Uganda, in aid of this brilliant cause. And in autumn, an office-wide Toiletries Amnesty helped to give four large boxes of spare, unwanted and unused toiletries a new lease of life – and keep them away from landfill – among charities which support rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people in Central London.
2020 is set to be another busy year, with our experts already lined up to provide testimony in over ten cases. We will be combining fundraising forces with our colleagues across the Blackrock Expert Services Group to support Maggie’s Centres, which provide free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. We will also be welcoming more new colleagues, in particular our new Associate Partner Paul Cliff, who brings with him a wealth of experience in the valuation of intangible assets and businesses, having spent most of his career in equity research (specialising in energy, mining & metals).