Brienner Straße 45 a-d
80333, Munich, Germany
Peers and clients say:
"Alexander is very creative when it comes to the assessment of damages"
"He is very persuasive in cross-examinations"
Alexander Demuth specialises in advising clients in arbitration, litigation and settlement with a focus on post-merger and commercial disputes. Mr Demuth has more than 20 years’ experience in quantification of damages, valuation, business modelling, transaction services, accounting and auditing. His experience includes giving evidence in more than 20 hearings, including in arbitrations under AAA, DIS, ICC, SCC, VIAC and ICSID rules.
What inspired you to specialise as an expert witness in complex damages and valuation cases?
When I specialised in this field more than 10 years ago, expert witness was not a defined standalone profession in Germany. I was intrigued by the opportunity and challenge to develop something new building on my experience in valuation, financial modelling, financial due diligence, auditing and accounting.
Naturally, my colleagues in the UK and the US have been an important element and have provided support during the early years of my career. Working with both the local German and A&M’s global teams that are focused on international arbitration has also inspired me to continue to be dedicated to this area, now and in the years to come.
What is it about being an expert witness that you enjoy most?
Simply put: continuous development and excitement. No two cases are the same and, as a consequence, I am allowed to learn something new every day. These new experiences involve, amongst others, new countries, new cultures, new industries and new technologies; allowing me to employ my skills in varied contexts.
I also very much enjoy the intellectual challenge of identifying and combining relevant facts with economic and (forensic) accounting methods and approaches to – on the basis of legal theories – establish a reasonable and reliable assessment of damages.
How has the move to virtual hearings influenced how you apply scrutiny and verify evidence?
In my opinion, assessing the personality and non-verbal signals during a dialogue is much harder in a virtual environment than in person. Therefore, the interviews and discussions tend to take more time to enable sufficient reassurance through follow-up or probing questions. Also, (contemporaneous) evidence becomes even more important and assessing its authenticity may require extra steps as their production cannot be observed in person. However, in essence the substance and quality of the work we perform has continued to remain at the same high standard.
The use of experts is a relatively new phenomenon in the German market. Have there been any recent developments?
Over the past decade, it’s become increasingly more common to use experts, especially for questions of quantum. More recently, the market has attracted several established global services firms, which I believe will help to professionalise the market and thus increase the quality of the services offered, strengthening the role experts can play in disputes.
How can the benefits of data be harnessed in your practice?
Data is the lifeblood of many organisations and provides them not only with direction on how to manage a business, but also evidence of how well they have performed. Therefore, it is a crucial element to any case and is generally available in abundance and, in fact, most of the time, more data is better than less. However, it is one thing to “have” data and another to harness the value and benefits that can be derived from it and then use that information on a case. This involves ensuring the integrity and completeness of the data being used, as well as ensuring it is captured at a granular enough level to enable the required analysis and modelling. It is also important to understand the business processes that surround the data to ensure any factors introduced by these are fully considered. Then it is down to the educated use of methods and tools to analyse and understand the data and what it tells us. Only then data becomes a reliable and invaluable basis on which to build our assessments.
What advice would you offer to a practitioner starting out as an expert?
The same I am offering to all our new joiners: listen carefully, always. Ask, at any opportunity. Work hard. Be patient. And always be ready for your moment.