Peers and clients say:
"Santiago is diligent and hardworking"
"He has a solid understanding of economic theory and is very good at anticipating potential criticism"
"He is amazing in hearings"
Santiago Dellepiane is a managing director with Berkeley Research Group and co-chair of its Global Economics Community. He has worked extensively as an economist and valuation analyst and as a consultant for utilities, regulated, and nonregulated businesses. His work involves economic analysis, valuation, business advisory, regulatory analysis and damages assessment.
How has the market changed since you first started practising?
From my vantage point, an increasing awareness for quantum issues and a growing sophistication have taken an important role. This is promising yet very challenging. There are many technical issues that inform quantum analysis and tribunals are tasked with determining the correct manner in which some of these techniques are to be applied.
What is the key to succeeding as an expert across multiple arbitration institutions and courts in a wide range of jurisdictions?
The core principle of providing expert testimony does not change across arbitral institutions or courts: the objective is to assist the court, jury or tribunal to make an informed judgement. Guided by first principles, intuition, reasonable business sense, and relying on established methodological approaches, we are here to apply science, not to create it from scratch.
How do you effectively prepare for cross-examination and/or hot-tubbing?
Preparing for cross and witness conferencing means being prepared to provide useful evidence to the arbitral tribunal and have an intelligent conversation with a fellow expert or even a cross examiner. This can be layered: answering questions as to why a certain approach is better than another may require big picture economic or industry analysis; on the other hand, the selection of specific variables or inputs may be a detailed debate anchored in factual and expert evidence. One important aspect of this preparation is a reliable team of support staff that act as a sounding board, remind us of critical issues, and are available to help us run alternative scenarios on demand.
Do you think the increase in transparency found in arbitration proceedings has encouraged experts to remain impartial? Or do you think further steps are needed?
First of all, the impartiality of career experts is given by the fact that their value is to the tribunals they serve and therefore they must preserve the long-term sensibility. I believe that if one assumes a top-notch expert will appear on the opposite side, that serves as a test of impartiality as well. Increased transparency may allow incorporating best practices from other legal systems (e.g. U.S. intellectual property cases).
What challenges do hybrid hearings present from an impartiality standpoint?
Both in-person and virtual hearings have their benefits; ease of attendance, reduced costs, and sometimes the ability to see the tribunal’s reactions up close are new benefits of virtual hearings. The main drawback is that as humans, we find it harder to maintain attention across a virtual medium. Hybrid hearings reflect that some parties will value those benefits at a premium, even if it means giving up the in-person connection or allowing the other side to access that connection. It has made arbitration more accessible to a wider range of claimants. To continue reaching this expanded audience, tribunal members, along with counsel and experts, must give serious consideration to how to promote comprehension of testimony across the virtual medium.
Do you have any tips for counsel on how to use an expert team effectively?
Counsel in any forum will lean on their expert teams for input on preparing their cross examinations, this can be very important. But the process begins much earlier when our teams help counsel understand the approach chosen as well as those that weren’t, and why. We should seek to help counsel understand the first principles behind the core issues in a case, and not just provide them with sound bites.
What advantages accompany introducing experts early in the disputes process?
Introducing experts early allows potential claimants or respondents to inform how they see quantum issues, but also to understand realistically what costs may be incurred, as well as the key sensitivities that drive the damages estimates.
As co-chair of the firm’s economics and damages community, what are your goals for the group over the next five years and how will you achieve them?
Our international arbitration team of economists and financial specialists at BRG is poised to continue expanding to satisfy growing demand in a few core industries: mining, energy and the metaverse/cryptocurrency. We have the right skills and proven experience on the first two, and are at the cutting edge of the latter.