Richard Morris motorbike

Day in the life - Richard Morris

I am Head of Expert Services for Systech, acting as an expert witness on time and quantum matters worldwide, advising clients on their disputes, and trying to avoid them in the first place by delivering training and seminars.

I joined Systech back in 2008 and have loved every minute of it … so far!

What is your typical day?

The best thing about my role is that there isn’t a typical day! I could be giving evidence in an arbitration or preparing an expert report, or I could be helping our clients defend an adjudication.

More often than not I’ll also be giving advice to a colleague or going through a presentation or seminar slides.

What are the interesting aspects of your work?

The most interesting aspect for me is the sheer variety of projects I get involved in, from crinkly tin sheds and office blocks to power stations and dams via airports, roads and rail links.

Every project is bespoke so no job is the same.

They vary too by location and the nationality of the site teams; I have had the opportunity of working in the UK, Western and Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Hong Kong, South America, North America and Canada so far as well as lecturing for universities in South Korea and Austria, working with people around the world.

Richard presenting at Seoul University

What are the challenges?

The main challenge in my role is being able to call on the assistance I want when I need it, so Systech’s size and diversity is a real bonus in helping me get the right skills and attitudes for the right job at the right time.

I am blessed to work with some of the best-qualified and experienced people on the planet, which really helps when working on complex commissions to tight deadlines!

What training and support has Systech given you?

I joined Systech after many years in private practice and this has opened me up to working on bigger and better projects around the world with the benefit of larger support teams.

When I had a serious motorbike crash in July 2019, Systech came to my aid to help me work around my injuries and to provide support to assist my recuperation, including helping me to carry on working whilst in the hospital and when I was released.

What words of advice would you offer someone thinking of working for Systech?

In the words of Nike’s advertising, “Just Do It!”

We will work you hard but we will work together and you will be rewarded with challenging and rewarding experience.

What is the culture like?

The management structure is very flat which means that you’ll never get lost at the bottom of a seemingly massive pyramid, but instead your voice can and will be heard.

If you’re relatively inexperienced you’ll be given assistance to grow and gain lots of experience from working with varied teams in your location and beyond; many colleagues have been given the opportunity to live and work all over the world.

How has working for Systech helped you achieve your career goals?

Working with Systech has helped me progress my reputation and experience working around the world with some of the biggest construction companies and the leading lawyers.

What makes working for Systech different from the competition?

Being privately owned and run by two of the most driven people I’ve ever met means that Systech continues to evolve rapidly but still in a controlled fashion whilst at all times retaining and encouraging the people who make the company what it is.

When you’ve just completed your third long-haul flight in as many days, it’s comforting to know that you’re not the only one with that commitment and drive.

White water rafting

Tell us about a project where you have learnt a key lesson?

You never stop learning in my profession and if you think there’s nothing else you can learn then you’re either misguided or deluded.

Of paramount importance in my role is the ability to admit you don’t know the answer to a question or the solution to a problem rather than to try and bluff your way through: you will always be found out and it will destroy your credibility and in turn your likelihood of being instructed again.

But you also have to accept that no matter how right you may think you are, an adjudicator or arbitrator can sometimes reach a conclusion that is so far removed from your expectations as to beggar belief: one of my first instructions when I joined Systech was an office building in London where there was a major delay dispute with an M&E subcontractor. Both sides agreed what the critical activities had been and both parties knew what their likely outturn was going to be depending upon liability … and the adjudicator found against both parties having appointed his own expert who visited the site and interviewed operatives unannounced! Our ‘no-hopers’ were 100% successful and our ‘bankers’ failed miserably.