Dispute Resolution Strategies

Global disputes are becoming more frequent and complex as corporations and financial institutions continue to enter new markets against a backdrop of tighter regulatory scrutiny, higher accountability standards and intense competition. With more companies doing business in emerging markets, the risks are even greater. All of this creates higher costs and greater liability, requiring that disputes be avoided whenever possible, and resolved efficiently when they arise. We help clients through the lifecycle of transactions and product development to minimize exposure to risk and avoid disputes. When disputes arise, we guide clients through pre-contentious negotiations and help them choose the best dispute resolution option.

Construction—multimillion dollar investment projects—often require once-in-a-lifetime commitments of resources and capital. Yet, seventy percent of megaprojects exceed budgets and schedules. The consequences for both owners and contractors can be disastrous. For owners, overruns not only affect their bottom line, but also lead to squandered business opportunities and compromised credibility. On the other hand, contractors who exceed budgets and schedules erode resources, profits, and perhaps most importantly, client trust. In our experience, carefully planned mega projects can succeed, if both parties’ objectives and incentives are properly aligned and communicated, and when best practices for simple project delivery are consistently applied.

Our Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Practice serves both owner teams and contractors. We help clients plan, execute, and in some cases, rescue multibillion-dollar megaprojects. Supported by our experts and our broad network of external experts, our global team of consultants constantly tests and refines its proprietary tools and solutions. To ensure the long-term success of a project, we work closely with clients to build their capabilities at every stage. Our on-the-ground experience and deep knowledge of functional topics, such as organizational effectiveness, critical path execution, procurement, and risk management, uniquely positions us to support both project owners and contractors. We design organizations and team structures that match the scope of a project, the contracting strategy, and the complexity of a client’s portfolio. We also take a holistic look at their existing teams to identify talent gaps and develop actions plans for recruiting or developing talent. In addition, we help put advanced, innovative tools and processes in place to streamline processes and enable a more rigorous approach to decision making.

Public and Private Owners. Successful megaprojects are rooted in and guided by a strong business case. Unfortunately, in our experience, design and construction issues can quickly hijack projects, and decision makers can lose sight of investment goals. Many owners lack the resources and experience to manage contractors and at the same time, protect their broader business objectives. We support owners planning megaprojects by developing business cases aligned with their long-term strategic objectives, by ensuring rapid and effective decision making through our proprietary project management tools, and by performing key analyses to monitor the progress, economics, and risk associated with the project. During execution, we take a hands-on approach to help select and manage contractors, optimize procurement and supply chain strategies, monitor the overall execution of the project, and drive productivity. All the while, we ensure the client’s objective—delivering this project on time and within budget—remains the top priority.

Contractors and Vendors. Megaprojects are inherently complicated. To deliver a project according to an owner’s often-changing requirements is particularly challenging. Other factors, such as shortages of experienced project staff, remoteness and complexity of projects, and deteriorating labor conditions can add to the challenge. With owners increasingly pushing to transfer project delivery risks to the contractor, decades-old practices of delivering engineering and construction services are no longer sufficient to ensure profitability and owner satisfaction. Drawing on our experience in other industries, we find that applying critical path method (CPM) principles at every stage of a project can result in significantly higher margins, and improved client loyalty and trust. To ensure long-term success, we focus on building the client’s skills throughout every stage of the project in a sustainable way.

Early Case Assessment and Pre-Dispute Negotiations

When a potential dispute arises, we look at the case from all angles and consider the commercial aspects of the situation to help clients determine whether to negotiate a settlement or escalate the dispute. If pursuing a settlement is the best way forward, we represent clients in negotiating an optimum outcome. Skillfully managing crises that arise out of disputes is crucial to protecting a company's reputation, particularly in this age of social media. We have significant experience helping clients navigate these issues, including defamation. We understand the relevant laws and have close relationships with PR firms that enable us to provide clients with comprehensive service.

Facilitation, Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation Support

Our team supports clients facing false claim investigations, schedule delay disputes, and complex high-stakes litigation. We support our corporate clients and their legal counsel with access to accountants, financial analysts, schedulers, corporate auditors, economists, and statisticians, of whom are grounded in deep industry experience. We advise clients on settling claims and help them find opportunities to retain value during contract closeout.

Unique Know-How, Honed through Years of Experience. Our teams, including senior advisers with deep institutional, government, and military experience, have helped business and government leaders manage many serious crises and their aftermath. Across every major industry and region, we understand how crises unfold. We are uniquely placed to help clients foresee the impact of their crisis-response decisions, and we bring tried-and-tested skills and tools to help them quickly restore performance, return to stability, and tailor interventions for rapid and effective project recovery.

Rapid Mobilization. We activate a specialized crisis-response team within a few hours, integrating all the types of support needed—operational, reputational, financial, regulatory, and market. We move fast to help our clients establish a central control room to coordinate every aspect of the response and work with them to maneuver through the critical decisions that can lead them out of the crisis.

Integrated, Top-Leadership Perspective. We provide the judgment, strategic tool kits, global experience, and integrated point of view required to be true counselors to business heads and government leaders. We help our clients bring together multiple internal functions and external providers around one central plan, along the entire crisis lifecycle. We also help leaders shape clear crisis-response messages, prioritize resources, and deploy key talent where it is needed most.