How to find an expert?

The most common sources of Expert Witnesses are prior Expert engagements, referrals, Expert Witness referral firms, Print Directories, Online Directories, Internet search, Professional Organizations and University Web Sites, among others.

When one begins a search without any direction it can be a daunting task. For example, searching Google for an “Expert Witness,” will produce millions of hits. To narrow the search criteria, one must get specific about what is required to support the litigation. Whether using a print directory or online service, or simply conducting an Internet search.

To narrow the search criteria, one must get specific about what is required to support the litigation. Whether using a print directory or online service, or simply conducting an Internet search The following are important criteria to establish before beginning a search:

  1. Broad technical academic credentials, such as Ph.D., Masters, Bachelors.

  2. Appropriate industry credentials, such as P.E. (Registered Professional Engineer), CPA (Certified Public Accountant), etc.

  3. Specific academic credentials such as Ph.D., in Electronic Engineering, Masters in Mechanical Engineering, etc.

  4.  Years of professional experience.

  5. Years employed by or consulting to industry relevant to your litigation.

  6.  Publications in the relevant area.

  7. Litigation support experience, including experience giving testimony at deposition and trial.

  8. Litigation support experience relevant to the litigation such as experience in patent infringement litigation, trade secret, etc.

Expert Witness Services

The process of identifying exactly the criteria needed in your expert, conducting a search, narrowing the available choices, interviewing candidates and vetting finalists is a timeconsuming task. Many clients are reluctant or simply refuse to pay an attorney’s hourly rate to conduct a search for an Expert Witness; they expect you to know who and where the Experts are that will support the litigation. The loss in billings to conduct unreimbursed searches for Expert Witnesses or conversely the cost to your client can be very high. Many law firms, large and small, have learned to depend upon the services of Expert Witness referral companies for this purpose.

Legal consulting companies have hundreds of qualified Experts already under contract in a database that can produce candidates within hours instead of weeks with Curriculum Vita’s that are complete and up to date. The beauty of these services is that there are no charges until and unless an Expert Witness is engaged.

The first task is to fulfill the criteria mentioned in the previous topic “How to find an Expert Witness” and identify candidate Expert Witnesses who meet your basic standards and technical expertise. In the vetting process one must than find an individual whose appearance, demeanor and approach to research and analysis is consistent with the requirements of the client paying the bill. Appearance and image are important factors. The old aphorism “there are no second chances at first impressions,” is vitally important.