Daniel Sosa is a Research Executive at ExpertsDirect. His experience in sourcing experts for all manner of matters has revealed to him some of the ways in which experts can make themselves tick in the eyes of researchers and lawyers. Below Daniel shares some tips on how experts can bolster their standing when it comes to expert witness selection.
1. Training study or experience and which is clearly outlined in your CV
An expert’s CV should always be kept up to date so that the expert can reflect the currency and full spectrum of their expertise and knowledge. Our clients are often requesting our assistance in finding experts with extremely narrow expertise so for example if you have operated types of machines, performed certain surgeries, we suggest that there is some reference to this in your CV. The cases that require expert witness work can involve common industry issues as well as more esoteric technical issues, so it is especially advantageous to include details of niche areas of expert knowledge Furthermore, while it is unlikely that an expert will have all up to date certifications and accreditations, it is imperative that the expert knows what those prevailing certifications and accreditations are and make an active effort to ensure that they are up to date.
2. Past Expert Witness Experience
While an expert may possess all the right qualifications, experience, and training, they may still lack valuable matter-specific experience. The distinct advantage of having past expert witness experience is in your ability to reflect that you are familiar with the expert reporting process and therefore will not require potentially extensive instructions and guidance in producing a report, amongst other things. It will therefore instil more confidence in you from researchers and lawyers if you have had past expert witness experience. If you do not have past expert witness experience, take an available course on Expert Witness Reporting or ensure that you are able to demonstrate your writing ability through other work you have completed (e.g. academic pieces or journal articles).
3. Experts who are able to say ‘No’
Just as the Research Team appreciates experts who are frequently available for work, they are just as grateful for experts who can turn down work on account of their lack of expertise in the area the matter requires. There are few things that reflect as badly on an expert and researchers when an expert is not capable of adequately answering the question in a brief despite having assured researchers and lawyers that they can. If you find yourself turning down a matter that you cannot assist on, a great way to assist the researcher or lawyer is to recommend a colleague who does have the expertise to assist. Alternatively, researchers will be very grateful for your opinion on what expertise is in fact required for the matter if not yours.
4. Experts who are flexible
In our line of work, no expert witness matter is quite the same as the others. Working with an expert witness requires us to meet the unique time and financial demands of the matter. A great way to bolster your standing with our Research Team and lawyers is to demonstrate your understanding of how the size of the matter (the quantum of damages at stake) and the urgency of the work required should affect your invoicing. For example, experts who offer reduced rates for low-quantum cases will be chosen over experts whose rates remain constant across all matters, whether large or small. Researchers also appreciate experts who take a reasonable approach to itemising their invoice, e.g. by providing a free preliminary teleconference (especially if they are not engaged for a matter).
5. Responsiveness and ability to meet deadlines
What makes a strong first impression and leaves a lasting impact is how contactable an expert is over the course of a matter and whether they deliver work on time. A not insignificant portion of the work of lawyers involves filing documents and attending hearings aimed at efficiently scheduling procedures and compiling documents. It is of great assistance to a lawyer when experts are able to make good on their promises to attend conferences when required and produce reports on time; apart from having a stress-relieving impact on the experience of a lawyer with an expert, it helps the lawyer to fulfill their own professional duty to prepare and put forward their client’s case effectively. A contactable and punctual expert is a valuable and appreciated resource for all lawyers.
Multiple parts of the expert reporting process will require experts to hear criticism about their report (its style and clarity) and comment on the approaches and conclusions of other experts (in conclaves and in cross-examination). Researchers and lawyers therefore prefer experts who demonstrate diplomacy and collegiality in their interactions and correspondence with lawyers as well as other experts.
7. Using ExpertsDirect
ExpertsDirect works with a team of Research Executives to source the best and most experienced expert witnesses for a diverse range of legal matters requiring technical and industry knowledge. If there’s someone you know who is qualified to provide expert witness services, please click here and enter their Name, Expertise Area, and Best Contact Details.