Lee Heavner, Managing Principal
Using data – and intuition
In our work one of the more difficult challenges is understanding how to use the available data to answer the questions of interest. I have found that the people who excel in this dimension are people with solid intuition. Economic intuition helps you break down issues in litigation to questions that can be addressed scientifically.
In Florida State Board of Administration v. Alliance Capital Management, a pension fund sued Alliance Capital (now AllianceBernstein) after a portfolio managed by Alliance Capital incurred losses on investments in Enron stock. After a seven-week trial, the jury unanimously sided with Alliance Capital on all counts. Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the case was realizing that over two years of our work contributed to a decisive victory for our client and the entire investment management industry. Another aspect of the case that I enjoyed was learning the details of the investment management process at issue. In particular, I attended portfolio manager meetings, interviewed portfolio managers, and read some of the portfolio managers’ reference materials. As a result, I observed how the portfolio managers combined theory and personal judgment to make investment decisions.
Advice to new analysts?
Show initiative! The easiest way to get staffed on a case that interests you is to let case managers know that you are interested. Reading our engagement updates will tell you which case managers work in the areas that you are interested in. Then just approach them and let them know you are motivated to work and learn. Pretty soon, people will know who you are and where to find you.