Peers and clients say:
"Mr Abington has an impressive ability in handling cross-examination"
"William provides creative solutions while adhering to professional standards"
"He is detail oriented and client focused as a practitioner"
William Abington is a managing director of Alvarez & Marsal disputes and investigations leading its energy practice and has more than 25 years of experience providing financial and fraud investigations, dispute analysis and audit services. He has performed investigations for internally identified company matters, as well as in response to inquiries made by governmental oversight and regulatory organisations. He has presented analysis findings to the SEC, the DOJ, the DOI and the CFTC.
What do you enjoy most about your role as a forensic expert?
I think I can generalise my answer into two parts. First, I certainly enjoy the challenge of taking a complex problem and developing a solution. Sometimes the problem is like trying to put together a puzzle with random pieces from multiple puzzles. I enjoy thinking through how to simplify the issue and then, especially, how to develop an analysis and present the solution in an easy-to-understand manner. Second, I enjoy working with my colleagues within Alvarez & Marsal and people outside the firm from other disciplines. My work has afforded me an opportunity to work with many smart people who have certainly increased my knowledge and business understanding. Although sometimes it is necessary to work alone, it is very enjoyable to work with a team of outstanding people.
What has been the most interesting case that you have been involved in?
That is an interesting question because I think a case can be as interesting as you want it to be. Although I have worked with many large corporations on interesting matters, I have also worked on matters involving private companies developed by people who have a “rags to riches” story. Working with a highly successful business which started with little or nothing is very interesting to me. The cases with the most interesting people are the cases that I find to be the most interesting.
How has the use of technology impacted your day-to-day practice?
Technology has made it possible for improprieties, intentional and unintentional, to become very complex. Thus, some transactions and circumstances can initially be difficult to wrap your mind around. Fortunately, technology can be used in forensic analysis very efficiently and effectively to identify and evaluate complex issues. I remember when we used to prepare spreadsheets by hand. Now, technology allows us to retrieve data, perform analyses, make calculations, and prepare presentations that would have been impossible to do otherwise. Technology is an integral part of our day-to-day practice.
What have you learned from working with clients in a wide range of industries and jurisdictions?
There are very smart people in all industries and jurisdictions. Irrespective of the culture or line of business, most people I work with are good, honest people seeking to learn the truth about whatever circumstance they are addressing. I have found that if I listen more than I speak, I often learn of a critical piece of information or a valuable idea that is helpful to our analysis. Unfortunately, I have also learned that no sector of business or jurisdiction is immune from bad actors.
How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?
We will continue to see advancements in technology and the younger generations are becoming more and more advanced in their understanding and use of technological tools. This advancement is important as we tend to continue to specialise, but we must guard against allowing our technological tools and specialties to override our business acumen and good instincts.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career thus far; what do you consider to be your best accomplishments?
Every matter that I have been involved with has its own unique satisfaction. Certainly, successfully completing some of the more challenging assignments, including those for which it was a “long shot” to be successful, has been gratifying. Mostly, I hope to have instilled in my younger colleagues the importance of maintaining high business standards and integrity at all times. I have enjoyed watching these colleagues learn and grow into outstanding individuals. Many whom I have worked with over the years are very successful professionally and have balanced their profession with their personal life very well. Whether they learned a few good things from me, or maybe to avoid some things I did, I hope to have meaningfully contributed to their careers.