John Michael McNutt
Senior Litigation Advisor & Of Counsel
Lazareff Le Bars
Michael is a Senior Litigation Advisor & Of Counsel with more than 20 years practice in investment and commercial arbitration.
Michael McNutt has been assisting in settlement of investment disputes and complex arbitrations for over 20 years in the World Bank (ICSID), ICC, UNCITRAL and as well as in domestic proceedings in UK High Court, French, United States, and New Zealand courts.
Michael has significant experience in relevant offshore jurisdictions, including most UK offshore centers (IOM, Jersey, BVI, Cayman Islands, etc.), Caribbean jurisdictions, Malta, Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates during the same period. Relevant investor State cases in which Michael was lead strategist together with lead counsel include Noble Ventures v Romania, EDF v Romania, Emmis Radio v Hungary, Novera v Bulgaria, Mezzanine & Danubius v Hungary and a pending Strasbourg case (and related investment treaty claim) against Hungary. Michael is also actively involved in commercial litigation and enforcement cases involving UAE, Senegal, United States, France, Italy, Ireland, Bulgaria and Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Cyprus and others.
A former US and EU-based investment banker as well as a manager/director based in Europe with two of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms, Michael possesses extensive knowledge and experience in the formulation of investment strategies (including PPP or other State Aid schemes), post-acquisition restructuring and its implementation, as well as accountancy (IAS, US GAAP etc.) and valuations/damages assessment.
Michael’s investment and privatisation advisory experience involving both Investor – State contracting as well as commercial merger & acquisitions in transition and developing economies is relevant in particular for understanding the financial basis for the dispute and quantification of damages. Prior to the commencement of a dispute, Michael often works with the client to confirm an estimated quantum of damages that may be used as a benchmark for settlement discussions. In addition, and in the event settlement is not possible, Michael routinely assists testifying damages experts in the formulation of the damages model, collection and providing evidence to support the model collected from the client and ensuring that such evidence (including witness evidence) complements the evidence used to support the legal claim prepared by legal counsel.
Michael has been particularly effective in providing valuable insight for the construction of the settlement and litigation strategy to ensure that evidence and witness collection is relevant, time efficient and cost effective for clients. His experience and understanding how transition economies developed with foreign aid and attraction of investments combined with such dispute- sensitive witness mapping and evidence collection supports the legal strategy with the strong evidentiary tools and insight into the origin of the dispute and mitigating or complicating factors.
In certain instances, Michael has acted as interim manager of the domestic legal entity which may be required to litigate as claimant and to ensure that corporate managers can be redeployed by firms which aids in limiting the risk of intimidation or harassment of management that may occur during the dispute. As a result, Michael has also testified before courts and arbitration panels on various occasions in support of claims or in the defense against claims.
His negotiation skills are relevant and Michael has been particularly effective in settlement of disputes related to investments involving a partner from a more mature market dealing with either governments or firms locally executing a commercial arrangement in a dynamic local legal environment (i.e. Hungary, Romania, Mongolia, Brazil, Russia, etc.).
Michael is responsible for assisting clients in preparing case investment budgets, managing the execution of case investment model and where required to assist in the payment of all 3rd party experts, administration and other expenses. Working therefore systematically with the client, support for the claiming of litigation expenses and confirmation to the client for internal or audit purposes of dispute expenditure and forecasted expenditure is possible and can greatly reduce the time that client management or in-house counsel needs to spend on such administrative matters.