Yendall Hunter Limited
21 Lime Street
EC3M 7HB, London, England
Peers and clients say:
"Martin is robust and ferociously forensic on all the important details"
Martin Hunter is the co-founder and a managing director of Yendall Hunter Limited. He is a chartered quantity surveyor with an LLB from the University of Glasgow. He has more than 30 years of experience in the construction sector, with over 20 years of experience in construction-related disputes.
He has appeared as an independent expert on delay and quantum matters in litigation, international arbitration (ICC/ LCIA/UNCITRAL/DIAC/ICSID), as well as mediation, DAB and adjudication proceedings.
What attracted you to a career as an arbitration expert?
When studying and later working in the field of quantity surveying, I was always interested in the legal/contractual aspect of projects. I therefore went on to study law at the University of Glasgow where I obtained my LLB. I toyed with becoming a lawyer, but given I enjoyed working on projects I wanted to try and combine the two. I believe I have achieved that, working alongside some fantastic lawyers on complex construction disputes.
What sort of arbitration matters are you most active on at present?
As a firm we work on a wide range of complex construction, infrastructure, shipbuilding, process projects, providing expert quantum and delay advice on such matters. Whilst traditional construction matters form the mainstay of our workload, we are also currently involved with matters that are slightly different to the norm involving software/tech design issues both in respect to delay and quantum matters.
Why did you decide to set up your own firm?
My business partner Andrew Yendall and myself worked as partners for many years in large international consultancy businesses, which was very rewarding and challenging. During that time, we worked with some excellent individuals and learned a lot from them. Around eight years ago we wanted to challenge ourselves by starting our own business. Our focus was to build a delay and quantum team where high quality of the staff and work product were the primary goal and we could set our own growth targets for the firm without sacrificing quality.
What challenges do you face with the increased volume of data being used in disputes, and how are you navigating them?
We are very lucky to have a team that includes construction professionals, engineers, and forensic accountants, so the mix of those skillsets is very useful when managing and interrogating large amounts of data, both in relation to delay and quantum matters. We have developed our own systems to review and analyse such data to make its interrogation much more efficient.
We need to remember that the data is a resource available to help answer the questions we are being instructed to consider. We need to be able to quickly separate the data that is useful to informing that answer and what is not. In the end, being able to communicate clearly and succinctly to a tribunal what volumes of data tells you is a challenge, but it is an important skill to master.
What do you think will be the greatest challenges facing arbitration experts over the next five years and how will you ensure you are prepared to face them?
As the profession grows, we see the pressure to grow headcount a challenge in retaining and attracting excellent professionals, whilst at the same time ensuring quality. We focus heavily on training our own staff from a junior level and growing from within as much as possible. I think we strike the balance well in terms of growth aspirations and maintaining quality.
The pandemic obviously changed the way we worked for a period. I think we will continue to see a gradual move back to the way we worked previously, with more collaboration in the office and in person client meetings and I think we will find the right balance between the convenience of remote working and the benefits of in person collaboration.
How is Yendall Hunter Limited’s approach to disputes advisory work distinct from other consulting firms?
Our approach is simple, focussing on attracting and working with quality professionals that will allow us to maintain excellence. The experts in our team are very much hands on individuals, heavily involved in the preparation of advice. I’m not sure that makes us distinct, but certainly needs to be the primary focus as a firm.
As co-founder and managing director, what are your goals for the firm's development in the near future?
As I have said, we want to continue to grow to meet the aspirations of our team, but grow sustainably, ensuring all the time that we maintain a high-quality independent expert advisory team.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received?
Do a good job and the rest will take care of itself.