Kiran P Sequeira
1432 K St NW, Suite 700
20005, Washington, USA
Peers and clients say:
"He stands out for his strategic analysis and performance under cross-examination"
"Kiran is truly excellent"
"He has been excellent as an expert in several matters"
Kiran is a managing director at Secretariat International. He is a leading expert on valuation and damages and is frequently appointed as the damages/quantum expert by parties in large, complex, high-value matters in capital intensive sectors. He has been retained to provide expert evidence on financial, valuation, and damages issues in over 100 matters. This includes matters before ICSID, ICC, LCIA, SCC, UNCITRAL, AAA/ICDR, and SIAC tribunals, as well as in the US and UK courts.
What motivated you to operate in both advisory and dispute resolution services?
Early in my career, I worked in engineering consulting, where I implemented technical studies/designs for large public works projects. After my MBA, I joined Arthur Andersen and implemented consulting assignments (strategy/finance/economics and business optimisation) for Fortune 500 clients. Around this time (early 2000s), by happenstance, I got staffed on a disputes (international arbitration) assignment, which I found fascinating. It enabled me to leverage my technical and management consulting skills, as well as my training in finance and valuation. I was able to add more value to these engagements and I enjoyed the opportunity to work with lawyers and clients located across the globe addressing matters of significant national and international importance.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a global practice?
One of the main advantages of a global practice is the ability to work with a highly talented and diverse group of people on a wide range of issues across various geographies and industries. However, these perks are accompanied by certain expectations including travel, a willingness to take calls/meetings outside of the regular workday, longer work hours, which can contribute to an added level of stress. But these are challenges that I (and many of my peers) are more than willing to embrace, and quite frankly, we would not have it any other way.
What is the key to succeeding as an expert across multiple arbitration institutions and courts in a wide range of jurisdictions?
It is actually quite simple. First and foremost, a damages expert must embrace his or her role, which is to remain objective and independent, and assist the tribunal in arriving at an informed view on damages. Know your reports and the relevant case materials well — there is no substitute for being well prepared. Recognise that you can only assist the tribunal in areas that are squarely within your area of expertise, you cannot (and should not) try to solve the case.
How do you effectively coordinate on cases when working alongside experts with other areas of expertise?
In my reports, I frequently rely on inputs from technical experts, scientific experts, delay experts, industry experts, etc. I find it useful to have a call early in the process to explain to the other expert(s) why I will be relying on them for my damages calculation/valuation, and how their inputs/opinion will impact the outcome of my valuation. It is also useful to have progress calls along the way, so the experts are on the same page and rely on the same set of facts (or counterfactual assumptions) for their respective reports. My background/experience in engineering helps me coordinate effectively with technical experts in capital intensive sectors (e.g., mining, oil & gas, infrastructure, manufacturing) since I’m able to quickly get my arms around the key technical issues that impact quantum/value.
Looking back over your career, what has been the most memorable arbitration you have been a part of?
This is a tough one, because each arbitration is unique, but the UFG v Egypt arbitration stands out for several reasons: 1) the overall intensity of the case and the vigour with which the issues were debated and addressed by both sides; 2) the high value of the claim and its significance for both claimant and respondent (the case stems from the Egyptian gas crisis); 3) an outstanding project team, combined with highly informed and hands-on involvement of client and counsel, which contributed to a successful outcome on quantum (damages award in excess of $2 billion).
What underrated skills would you encourage the up-and-coming generation of arbitration professionals to develop and why?
The future is bright for the next generation of arbitration professionals. While there are many reasons to “trust the process” and “do the drill” to build the requisite competencies across levels, here are a few skills that don’t usually make the short-list: 1) learn when (and how) to say “no,” whether within your firm or externally with clients/counsel; 2) seek out the road less travelled, don’t underestimate jobs that may seem small/irrelevant - the best relationships sometimes sprout from such situations where you step out of your comfort zone (and go the extra mile) for a client; 3) find your own pace and wavelength, and be true to your strengths and interests; do not measure your success (or failure) by reference to others.
As a managing director at Secretariat, what are your main priorities for the firm’s development over the next couple of years?
Focus on developing the next generation of experts within the firm. We have a very bright and talented group of young professionals who, with some mentoring and guidance, will no doubt become the world’s leading experts in the years ahead.
Leverage the collective and complementary practice lines within Secretariat (e.g., delay, quantum, valuation, and economics) to add more value to our clients and counsel.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Never get overconfident or complacent about your opinion. Be yourself in the witness box. Be humble, remember that who you are is greater than what you do. Pay it forward - your success and legacy will be defined more by what you do for others than yourself.