Editor: Would you tell our readers about your background and professional experience?
Rudewicz: It seems as if my previous work experiences were specifically geared to enter the litigation support industry. I am an attorney and have been involved in the fact-finding and investigative-consulting world for approximately 28 years. My background includes many years of complex investigations with the Hartford, Connecticut Police Department, working with the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Department of Defense in New England. I had several years as the director of corporate security and emergency management for Shawmut Bank in Boston. Throughout the 1990s, I was in charge of their financial and fraud investigations, loss prevention, business continuity and disaster planning. About 10 years ago, I entered the litigation support consulting field.
Besides fraud investigations, one of my areas of expertise is crisis response and emergency management. We focus on helping clients understand what their risks are, the probability of those risks occurring and what the impact would be. Once that is understood, we can draft a plan to mitigate the risks. That may be through insurance, various protective measures or the ending of certain contract relationships. I work closely with our Business Interruption and Recovery Claims group to identify those areas that are going to be most critical to the company.
Editor: UHY Advisors is a national firm providing forensic, litigation and valuation services. Describe the backgrounds of your professionals.
Rudewicz: Our professionals come from diverse backgrounds. The litigation support arena demands diversified financial, investigative and operational experience to provide a variety of fraud and forensic specialty services, all of which involve the gathering and analysis of information. A case is only as good as the information you have to work with. At UHYAdvisors, our subject matter experts have the requisite life experiences coupled with specialized education and training that help clients get the necessary information, whether it is from fraud detection, securities analysis, complex damages modeling, electronic discovery or expert testimony.
Editor: What is the size of the Boston office?
Rudewicz: We are in the middle of a merger with a well known independent accounting firm, CCR (Carlin, Charron & Rosen, LLP). On the close of that transaction on May 1, 2007, UHY Advisors will be catapulted into the number five position for accounting firms giving us over 400 professionals in New England. This merger comes fast on the heels of our merger with another mid-size accounting firm, Brown & Brown, last year. Consequently, our New England forensic, litigation and valuation services group is now one of the largest and most comprehensive in the area. These mergers gave us additional and complementary expertise for our litigation support teams.
Our New England practice is concentrated in Boston. However, we also have full service offices in Hartford, Stamford and New Haven, Connecticut; Westborough, Massachusetts; and, at the close of the CCR merger, Providence, Rhode Island.
Editor: How much of your business is related to investigations or asset transfers within the biotech and high tech industries?
Rudewicz: We have a significant amount. We have a very vibrant intellectual property practice. Ron Vollmar, our National Practice leader for our Intellectual Property service line, spends a lot of time in Boston with our clients. We have recently hired Dr. James Bohn, an engineer and Ph.D. economist from Harvard, to lead our local practice. We provide expert testimony on damages, patent infringements, and theft of trade secrets. We have a significant amount of investigations of employee issues for violation of non-compete agreements. This is part of our pre-litigation fact-finding service.
Editor: Why is the New England and Boston area an active market for your talents?
Rudewicz: New England is a great place to do business. We can, literally be in six different states in an hour or so without getting on a plane or train. Our research has shown that clients are hungry for an alternative to the Big Four. With our talent and increased bench strength, we can provide that alternative. We also see the current wave of consolidation in the legal community as an opportunity to showcase our local and national abilities. The strengths of the New England market are also our strengths, including financial institutions, biotech, economic consulting and complex modeling.
Editor: How do you interface with your other U.S. offices? Are persons with specialized backgrounds and experience throughout the firm available if needed in a particular matter?
Rudewicz: Our national forensic, litigation and valuation practice has full-time professionals in offices across the U.S. Our team has expert witness capabilities that run the gamut from testifying in eDiscovery, securities matters, fraud matters, complex damages, economic consulting - all the way through the investigative process and traditional consulting regarding negligent security and reasonableness of protection measures as they pertain to security and trade secrets.
Locally, Carl Jenkins, Managing Director, has testified in numerous matters relating to commercial damages and litigation. Catherine Parente, Managing Director joining from CCR, has also testified in a countless number of commercial litigation matters throughout New England. I have testified as an expert in construction compliance arbitration, workplace violence and security practices.
However, most often, our entire team of certified valuation analysts, certified fraud examiners and financial professionals act as consulting experts to help our clients get the information they need.
We travel frequently to other offices to help them when there is a need for our individual and team expertise. Our people from Chicago, Houston, Washington, New York, St. Louis and Detroit are often in Boston working on engagements. We demand that they become "temporary Sox" fans when they come to Boston to help with a case.
Editor: Do you have access to personnel in your international offices?
Rudewicz: Yes. UHY Advisors has global resources in over 50 countries with over 160 offices. We call on our international offices frequently. It may be as routine as completing a due diligence for a domestic corporation making an acquisition or undertaking a joint venture with an international entity, or a more complex Foreign Corrupt Practices Act review and inquiry. It is fantastic to be able to connect our client with the requisite subject matter expert in the locale that they need.
Editor: Do you think that Sarbanes-Oxley also has given a boost to your business since companies are looking for experts such as yours to prevent fraudulent activities or "to nip it in the bud" if it is detected?
Rudewicz: No question. Sarbanes-Oxley has spurred activity for our type of professional service firm over the past several years. Going forward, clients are demanding trusted business advisors who will help them make the right choices without paying exorbitant and long term fees. Oftentimes, our group talks itself out of engagements by simply providing consulting advice to clients to identify alternatives or instruct them on how to assess the issue themselves.
Editor: Could you describe your securities fraud practice.
Rudewicz: UHY Advisors has been one of the leaders in securities fraud investigations and analysis. Saul Solomon and Jeff Harfenist are our national leaders in this area, having been engaged in many different matters to include several recent Enron-related matters. In the Boston market, we are led by Mary Calhoun, a Managing Director, and Dr. James Bohn. Mary is a securities arbitration expert and has testified in over 1,000 matters in her career. Dr. Bohn, in addition to his IP focus, also specializes in the financial markets. His background includes that of a senior economist at the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC for several years.
Editor: I understand that UHY Advisors also works on antitrust and anticompetitive investigations.
Rudewicz: That is one of the areas where we stand apart. Our teams in Boston, New York and Washington, DC have Ph.D. economists who can formulate an economic analysis of the impact of any potential antitrust violations. From our full scope of services, we also are able to help clients investigate to determine whether there is a viable case to be pursued; if the client proceeds to litigation, we are able to provide the economic and financial analysis to complete the circuit with expert testimony at trial.
Editor: One of the other areas that the firm specializes in is business valuations. With private equity clients, do you get involved in valuations for partnerships before companies are bought?
Rudewicz: Yes, we do. We have a national practice for business valuation led by Jeffrey Botvinick. Our Boston office is one of the largest offices that specializes in those valuations. Unlike our large competitors, we have full time professionals certified in valuations that focus solely on these types of engagements. We conduct valuations for gift and estate tax purposes, for fairness opinions, or business valuations in the course of litigation.
One of my favorite stories on our valuation practice highlights our full-range of services. Reviewing the financial statements of a small restaurant business (ordinarily a cash business) for our client, it appeared the business was not doing as well as one would have thought. We then put on our investigative hat, putting a team in place to conduct surveillance. We put a team outside, discreetly counting customers over a few select days. We also had "customers" inside the restaurant. Taking a sampling over a short period of time and comparing it with the financial documents, we realized that the restaurant had a lot of undocumented activity. With this information, our client was able to quickly forge a settlement in a very contentious litigation.
Editor: What do you see in your crystal ball in terms of growth of your practice in New England?
Rudewicz: Our growth mirrors our national growth. Regional consolidation and mergers of law firms is really going to help our local practice. We have the advantage of using our Business Development Managers to track legal issues, identify clients and maintain ongoing relationships to present us with the opportunities in the marketplace. In New England, we have two Business Development professionals. Both will be very busy throughout the year.