Thursday, November 11, 2010

Experts Can Still Have Their Testimony Rejected by Courts Even If Their Work Is Proper

Do you know if standards and accreditations exist in your field? Do you meet the standards in your field as an expert? Did you obtain available accreditations in your specialty? Did you earn the license required in your specialty?

Did you obtain expected and available certifications in your specialty? Consider additional work to prepare yourself. Lawyers and the courts they serve want expert witnesses to look good on paper, sound good in court, and legitimately have the qualifications to be there.

You will hear the term 'admissibility.' A judge determines whether to 'accept' you, your credentials, and your work into the court. The judge has the 'gatekeeper' role and decides whether to allow you to present your work and your opinions in the courtroom. The opposing attorney may successfully present legal reasons why the judge should not admit your work into evidence.

Inadmissibility may not indicate that your work was poor, but it does declare that your work did not meet legal standards. This can be a damaging loss to your side and a great victory for the other side, and will successfully keep your work from ever being considered by the jurors.

Your retaining attorney has to deal with legal considerations regarding admissibility. However, you can help provide your opinion with a strong foundation by performing your work carefully, preparing it to meet standards, and presenting it well.

You cannot scrimp on care, and your work must meet the norms and standards of your industry. If you express an opinion that seems straightforward to you, it still may sound ridiculous in court if you based it on incomplete, poorly documented, or otherwise shoddy procedures.

A combination of regulatory agency, academic, and industry expertise will strongly support you in your role as an expert witness. Academic expertise alone, without hands-on work, can seem only theoretical and may lead to rigorous cross examination. Attorneys may capitalize on this weakness by presenting hypothetical questions that can be unpleasant during testimony because of your lack of real-world background.

Lack of industry background can come across as 'ivory tower syndrome,' a weakness found frequently in academic expert witnesses. Jurors may find you less believable and your opinions less acceptable.

Extensive industry qualifications will help you most when making a transition from just an industry expert to a litigation consultant. Jurors will easily recognize your expertise if they find out that you have worked as an industry expert for years. Attorneys will then find it unpleasant to discredit your credentials.

If you have worked for a law enforcement agency or governmental commission, at the state or federal level, you may have a built-in acceptability to jurors. While some jurors may have a bias against you because you worked for the government, government employ does bring a notable credential to the table on your behalf.

By : Judd_Robbins

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