The right expert witnesses can be a key component to helping an attorney win a case. A great deal of attention is paid to finding and contracting with a good expert. While hourly rates may seem high and a large number of hours may be needed for an expert to review the facts of a case and provide a meaningful written opinion, there are ways you can manage the engagement of an expert to keep costs at a minimum.
1. Don’t give your expert more documents to read than necessary – this can drive up charges if the consultant has to spend time reading unnecessary documents
2. Don’t lead expert opinion. While you may have a case strategy, leading or influencing the report can place the expert in an ethical dilemma if he disagrees with your conclusions, require additional research to support, and add to time spent on the case. If you have selected the right expert, allow them to present their professional opinion to you without a requested outcome.
Presenting your case strategy when interviewing a potential expert can let you know if the expert is likely to be on your side, without influencing him. If the expert feels as if his/her opinion has been influenced, he/she may be required to disclose this in court, which may hurt your case.
3. Be easy to contact. This will eliminate delays while the expert is waiting to have questions answered and time charges for multiple contacts.
4. Pay your bill on time. This keeps the consultant focused on the job rather than on following up on payment.
5. Make sure the scope of the project or case is clearly defined. Being on the same page from the start of the project will help insure that your expert or consultant is working on the tasks most important to your case or project.
6. Communicate frequently to insure the project is on track and that key deadlines and trial dates are on everyone’s calendar.
For more hands on tips on managing expert witnesses, see our three part series “Guidelines for Your Expert Witness” and other Expert Witness Management Tips on this blog. This series is also available as a Whitepaper; call our offices or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
Founded in 1985, The CECON Group specializes in providing science and engineering consultants and expert witnesses. Consultants in their global network typically have more than 25 years of experience; CECON offers consultants in more than 200 disciplines, including pharmaceutical development and regulatory compliance, chemical processing and safety, biotechnology, medical devices, nanotechnology, and polymers and coatings.
For details, visit www.cecon.com or call 888-263-8000.