Friday, November 12, 2010

Guidelines to Hire an Expert Witness

Dave McDonald from the National Expert Witness Network (NEWN) has developed and released an excellent (and free) instructional program to explain the best methodologies for finding, assessing the credentials of, and hiring an expert witness.

Although created with an obvious tilt toward the interests of attorneys looking for the right one, many of the training slides are equally valuable for experts seeking to appreciate the process. 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 lawyers in these matters as well.

Mr. McDonald covers everything from the definition (Rule 702) of a witness to the differing roles played by them as either a defendant or plaintiff expert. His program spans such fundamentals as finding the expert, fees for experts, and the necessary skills of an effective witness. He discusses retention agreements, payment responsibilities, and, from the business perspective, considerations related to managing witnesses during a case.

In the later stages of retaining an expert, he also explains elements of confidentiality as well as parameters for reports, and even some admissibility considerations. He also includes 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 understood 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 attorney regarding opinions and objectivity.

For the larger cases, such as many intellectual property matters become, this training program also provides information for effective management of the eventual work product and of a possible team of multiple experts.

Mr. McDonald's course is available at the National Expert Witness Network's website, in the About main menu choice, and in the 'Training' submenu choice.

By : Judd_Robbins

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