1432 K St NW, Suite 700
20005, Washington, USA
Peers and clients say:
"Matthew is a dream to work with"
"Clients and counsel regard him as reliable and incisive"
"Matthew is able to convey complex ideas in a persuasive and accessible manner."
Mr. Shopp has nearly two decades of experience providing financial and valuation expertise in the context of international disputes. He has worked on projects in industries such as mining, oil & gas, electricity, real estate, construction, transportation, manufacturing, consumer products, telecommunications, and financial services. Mr. Shopp has provided expert testimony in ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC, PCA, and LCIA arbitrations and has been recognised by Who’s Who Legal as a Global Elite Thought Leader in Arbitration.
What led you to pursue a career as an arbitration expert witness?
After obtaining my MBA in Finance and initially working as a management consultant in the Middle East, I was incredibly fortunate to join the nascent international arbitration practice at Navigant Consulting. In addition to combining my passion for finance, economics, and law, I cannot imagine another career that offers the same opportunity to work with brilliant people from a wide range of different backgrounds in diverse geographies and industries. I especially enjoy that no assignment is ever the same, such that there is always an opportunity to learn, gain experience, and establish new professional relationships.
What is the key to succeeding as an expert witness across multiple arbitration institutions and courts in a wide range of jurisdictions?
Possessing an absolute dedication to consistency and independence. As an expert, reputation is your most valuable asset, and you should not risk it for any client or case. Following a consistent approach and maintaining intellectual honesty – whether you are in an ICSID arbitration in Washington, D.C., a U.K. High Court proceeding, or an SAIC arbitration in Singapore – helps establish credibility with arbitrators and counsel. Beyond that core tenet, being intensely hands-on in every case and learning how to distil complex analyses into easily digestible answers are the main characteristics that distinguish the best experts.
What effect does a more interventionalist approach from tribunals have on independent expert work?
In my experience, tribunals adopting a more active role with the parties and experts leads to better outcomes. A more interventionist approach helps focus on the issues that matter and gives the tribunal the information they need to produce well-reasoned, accurate awards. However, when faced with an interventionist tribunal, it is essential to have experienced counsel and experts who know when to push back if the tribunal has missed key points or is overly focused on specific issues at the expense of the broader case narrative. That is particularly true when the matter involves complex, interrelated issues that require careful and holistic consideration, as is often the case in high-value international arbitrations.
What steps can be made to increase diversity in the arbitration field?
It is encouraging that the arbitration field is significantly more diverse than it was when I began my career two decades ago. However, despite the great strides that have been made, there is still a long way to go with respect to gender, ethnic, and geographic diversity. That is particularly true for expert witnesses, who tend to reflect the makeup of the accounting, finance, and economics professions (none of which are known for their diversity). Although increasing diversity in the expert witness field will remain a work in progress for the foreseeable future, actionable steps that we in the industry can take include recruiting and developing a more diverse set of junior employees, providing mentorship opportunities to help long-term development, fostering an inclusive culture that encourages diversity at all levels, and highlighting to clients the strengths and benefits of diverse project teams and experts.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
Being part of the successful integration of Versant Partners into Secretariat after we were acquired in August 2021. Although helping build Versant into a formidable player in the world of international arbitration was extremely rewarding, joining forces with Secretariat – the preeminent global expert services firm – has greatly exceeded my expectations and is the capstone of my career to date. Secretariat’s global reach and wide range of service offerings have greatly enhanced our ability to solve clients’ most complex and challenging problems, and the firm’s commitment to providing best-in-class expertise is unrivalled. The sum is truly greater than the individual parts, and I look forward to participating in Secretariat’s continued growth and success for many years to come.