One of the most frustrating and daunting tasks that attorneys need to do is to find witness experts. Many fields are little understood by legal professionals, but there are facts that could determine the proceeding. Things can be made more complicated by the fact that experts may have different or even conflicting opinions on specific matter. This can become a confusing state of affairs and determining a proper witness expert is more than just about making a few phone calls. Some key details could have huge impacts on the case, so it is important for attorneys to find experts who can deliver compelling and valid opinions.
When looking for expert witness, attorneys should listen to their gut reaction. Emotional factors could determine whether an expert is appropriate for the case. As we present multiple evidences and clues, the expert should be able to pick up the pieces and give everyone a clear picture based on proper scientific and legal basis. Good experts use scientific tools that are trusted and validated in their respective fields. Before asking someone to become a witness expert, it is important for attorneys to meet him/her directly. It is easy to determine whether a person is convincing by looking at their facial expression and body language.
Because attorneys are quite likely unknowledgeable about specific fields, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask “stupid questions” as long as these questions can make them understand about basic facts and details. Because attorneys are experienced in the art of interrogation, listening and analysis; they could still pick up some inconsistencies, regardless of the fields. The work as witness expert can be demanding and it’s important that these experts are willing to put more effort and allocate enough time. Experts should also be skilled in conveying their opinions in the court.
An expert should be able to speak clearly without cryptic jargons that confuse everyone, but still can make everyone understand. If attorneys have found a good expert for their case, they should provide a schedule that the witness can meet. In many cases, experts require financial compensations for their time and effort. For an important case, it is important not to look for a bargain, but it’s still important to know that the best expert isn’t really the most expensive. Attorneys should read the track record of the witness to see whether their past opinions in scientific field or previous court sessions can be trusted and validated scientifically.
It is also important to make sure that the hourly fee of the expert is consistent with the experience and training. Because court proceeding can be adjourned unexpectedly, we should be aware overcharging should be predictable.