There is a dance involved in report writing. Experts need enough time and information to create excellent reports; attorneys often want to review the reports, but need to be cognizant that any change requests not impact the expert’s opinion or voice; and in the background confidentiality and discovery lurk over all the communication, with rules dependent on the given jurisdiction.
Experts are crucial to a client’s case, but they may not understand the rules in effect for their particular matter. To avoid discovery pitfalls, it is important to set expectations at the beginning of the process. Experts should be asked about the confidentiality rules at the start of any discussion with a lawyer.
Cross examination can be stressful for experts and cause them to inadvertently slip up, so many legal teams will spend significant time prepping an expert. Our experts shared some tips on how to be prepared.
Being viewed as an expert before ever stepping foot in the courtroom, or with little to no testifying experience starts with respect in the field. Active professionals are the most likely to achieve this level of notoriety through participation at industry-specific events and organizations, notable certifications, and written work in trusted publications.
Earlier this year, we had a conversation on our podcast with Insurance Claims Expert, Kevin Quinley. He shared some gems about how to write a successful expert witness report. He highlights timelines, navigating your first draft, breaking it into sections, proofreading and knowing your audience ahead of time for the draft.
Many unsuccessful expert witness depositions could have been prevented with the right preparation and support. This can be said for even the most seasoned experts, as it should never be assumed preparation is not required.
Over the last 27 years, we have coordinated and participated in tens of thousands of expert witness interviews. We’ve seen it all, from perfectly executed interviews to missed opportunities for critical lines of inquiry. Our experience highlights the importance of approaching expert interviews with the right mindset and preparation. It’s easy to get caught up in the details and strategy surrounding the case and miss the chance to gain a better understanding of the expert’s strengths and weaknesses.