How to Hire an Expert Witness

Posted by Judd Robbins under Fundamentals, Lawyers

Dave McDonald of the National Expert Witness Network has written and released an excellent (yet free) training program to understand the process of finding, assessing the credentials of, and hiring an expert witness. Although written with an obvious tilt toward the needs of attorneys looking for the right expert witness, many of the training slides are equally useful for an expert witness to understand and appreciate. In fact, many slides appear to emphasize IP cases primarily, but the reality of the legal arena is such that the material on these slides applies equally well to many different types of cases, and to the decisions made by attorneys in these matters as well.
Mr. McDonald covers everything from the definition (Rule 702) of an expert witness to the differing roles played by expert witnesses as either a defendant or plaintiff expert. He covers such fundamentals as finding the expert, fees for experts, and the qualities of an effective expert witness. He discusses engagement agreements, payment responsibilities, and, from the business perspective, issues related to managing expert witnesses during a case.
In the more advanced stages of expert witness retention, he also explains elements of confidentiality as well as parameters for expert reports, plus admissibility considerations. He even includes guidelines and suggested rules for responses during depositions, such as his 5-second rule for pausing to answer questions, and his 30-second rule for limiting the time used for elaborate answers. Finally, he discusses the Supreme Court’s Daubert case and the risks of expert disqualification that should be considered by both experts and attorneys before any case is actually offered to or accepted by an expert.
Since many experts have never actually testified at trial, Mr. McDonald includes some valuable slides on advice and preparations of an expert witness for trial proceedings. He further includes some suggestions for both the expert and his/her attorney regarding opinions and objectivity. For the larger cases, such as many intellectual property matters turn into, this training program also includes information for effective management of the eventual work product and of a possible team of multiple experts.
Mr. McDonald’s course can be found at the National Expert Witness Network’s website, <> in the About main menu choice, and in the ‘Training’ submenu choice.

This review written by Judd Robbins: Judd Robbins has been an internationally recognized expert witness since 1986 in the US and in the UK. He has testified in State and Federal courts and has been featured as a testifying computer forensics expert on MSNBC, Court TV, and Tech TV. His cases range widely from intellectual property infringement matters to murder. He has been a best-selling author of more than 30 training and computer books and has created more than 25 training DVDs and videos. Robbins has advanced degrees from UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan, has been an Information Systems manager and an Education Systems manager, and consults in both computer and legal issues.

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