Over the last couple of years we have seen six of our team promoted to forensic director, a testament to their hard work, drive and dedication.  We are proud to be developing the experts of tomorrow and consider the future of our community to be in good hands.

To begin our new series focusing on our forensic directors, we speak to Edward Martin, who has been a forensic director since January 2020.  After qualifying as a chartered accountant in 2006, Ed specialised in forensic accountancy and spent time working in the in-house forensic accounting team at an international law firm.

We sat down with Edward to discuss his goals for his career, his vision for the future of our firm, and the skills and experience he brings to the team.

What additional skills and/or experience do you bring to the team to complement its existing experience?

I had my first taste of forensic accounting in 2002 during a stint of work experience, before I started my accounting training contract.  I have focused solely on forensic accounting since qualifying in 2006 and have been involved in a wide variety of cases, including disputes and investigations.  When I joined Haberman Ilett in 2016, I specialised in disputes and have had a chance to get involved in both arbitration and High Court cases, as well as expert determinations and pre-action advice.

I also have experience of working as an in-house forensic accountant at an international law firm.  In this role, I had the opportunity to get involved in cases at an earlier stage than we typically do when providing expert opinions, giving me invaluable insight into how quantum evidence fits into case strategies.  I also provided advice to clients and lawyers on the quantum merits of cases, assisted with drafting witness statements, helped with the selection of independent experts and reviewed expert reports before their submission.  In addition, I contributed to mediation and settlement negotiations.

Are there any types of cases, key industries or business practices that you are interested in?

I enjoy the variety of cases I get to work on, as this keeps me on my toes and provides opportunities for continuous learning.  I have experience of working on cases in a wide variety of industries, including financial services, natural resources and utilities and I equally enjoy cases that involve loss of profits or valuation.  The best thing about such variety is that no two cases are the same and each case is a new challenge.

I am also interested in property and construction disputes and hope to develop my expertise in this area in particular, working alongside our construction colleagues in the wider Kroll team.

How are you involved in our professional community?

I am part of a team who organises and delivers tailored training seminars for lawyers. The aim of these sessions is to provide lawyers with an opportunity to get a better understanding of accounting, financial or valuation issues that they may come across regularly.  For example, one of our most popular sessions takes a look at a typical set of financial statements and highlights areas that may be of particular interest to lawyers reviewing them as part of their work on a dispute.

I am also involved in cross examination training for lawyers, in which we help lawyers to gain experience of cross-examinations with mock hearings.  I find these sessions are a great opportunity to gain live experience of cross-examination for both the lawyers and the accountant.

What do you want to achieve in the short-term and the long-term?

My plan is to continue to learn and develop by getting involved in a great variety of projects.  Eventually I am looking forward to getting instructions in my own name and giving evidence.

What is your vision for the future of our firm?  How do you see yourself involved in bringing that to life?

Haberman Ilett has moved into its third stage of life: it has gone from being a small independent family-like business to a part of the bigger Blackrock Expert Services Group, which in turn has recently been acquired by Kroll, a global practise with offices in 25 countries.  It is exciting to be a part of these transitions and it is already heartening to see that this transition is being managed with a commitment to ensuring that we do not lose the core values on which we were originally founded.

To ensure our firm maintains its excellent reputation and continues to grow successfully and sustainably, it is imperative that we continue to produce work that is of excellent quality and that it is delivered in a way that is most useful for the instructing lawyers.  In doing so, I am confident that we will continue to win engagements on the high profile and interesting cases that we all enjoy working on.

My focus within the company is to support my colleagues’ development and encourage them to seek ways in which they can make their work life as fulfilling as possible.  I have internal roles that focus on this: I am a mentor to more junior members of staff and I also oversee resourcing for projects.  In both roles, I can support my colleagues in fulfilling their professional ambitions, something that I consider to be invaluable in creating a positive and rewarding working environment.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Outside work, I enjoy spending time with my family.  I was the first person to take shared parental leave at Haberman Ilett and I then chose to work part-time to look after my daughter.  Since then, a number of my colleagues have done the same thing, and  our firm has been very supportive and made flexible working as easy as possible given the demands of the industry that we operate in.  For me it is important to have a good work-life balance to be able to spend quality time with my family.  I highly encourage a balanced lifestyle and am happy that our firm gives me flexibility around my other commitments.  I would like to make sure that others have a chance to do that same.