In this episode…
Expert witnesses can be hard to find, but they can be even harder to research. From double-checking your own witnesses to seeking information on the opposition, knowing the background of an expert witness is crucial for a case. That’s where Expert Witness Profiler comes in: to help attorneys access all the information they need for their next case.
With years of experience in the expert witness field under his belt, Ashish Arun specializes in the intersection of law and technology. As the Principal Owner of Expert Witness Profiler, Ashish provides detailed expert witness reports to attorneys so they can be more prepared in court. So, what kind of information do these reports provide, and why should you order one for your next case?
Dan Rubin moderates this week’s episode of Engaging Experts to discuss the ins and outs of expert witness research. Ashish breaks down how the team at Expert Witness Profiler conducts its research, his advice on when to order an expert witness profile report, and the importance of screening your experts before going to court. They also talk about Ashish’s recent hobby: brewing kombucha. Stay tuned.
Note: Transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
Host: Dan Rubin, National Business Development Manager, Round Table Group
Guest: Ashish Arun, Founder, Exlitem Research Consulting & Principal and Director of Research, Expert Witness Profiler
Introduction: Welcome to Engaging Experts, the podcast that goes behind the scenes with influential attorneys. Our guests will describe their practice and expertise. Then, we will go deep on various topics related to effectively using expert witnesses.
Dan Rubin: Hi, everyone, this is Dan Rubin, the National Business Development Manager of Round Table Group and one of the hosts of this podcast series, Engaging Experts. We have a great guest for you today. Ashish Arun is a legal tech entrepreneur based in India. He is a Principal and Director of Research and Operations of Expert Witness Profiler, Round Table Group’s trusted expert background research partner. Welcome, Ashish.
Ashish Arun: Thanks, Dan. Thanks for having me.
Dan Rubin: It is my pleasure. Thank you. I am looking forward to diving right in, but before we do, here is a brief sponsorship message.
Announcer: This episode is brought to you by Round Table Group, the Experts on Experts®. We’ve been connecting attorneys with experts for over 25 years. Find out more at roundtablegroup.com.
Dan Rubin: Ashish, how did a lawyer from India, based in India, get into working for a company that researches experts in the U.S.?
Ashish Arun: I was in my second year of law school when a few friends of mine told me about this guy from the United States who paid law students a few dollars an hour to do some online research. As students, we would not get a lot of extra money to spend from our parents, so I wanted to find out what that was about. That is when I met Myles Levin, who is the founder of the Daubert Tracker and who is now my partner at Expert Witness Profiler. He was outsourcing Daubert Tracker research to law students from my law school. I started working a few hours a week with him and, after a few years, I realized that expert witness research is interesting and has great business potential. Around the time law school was ending, Myles and I decided to start a legal research firm in India that would primarily work on expert witness research and do research for other entities, like legal publishers and universities. We did that for a few years, but then the idea of expert profiling came around and we decided that we were going to stop doing third party legal research and focus only on expert witness proof. That is the long and short of how a lawyer from India is now working exclusively in the expert witness field in the United States.
Dan Rubin: Tell us more about Expert Witness Profiler and the services they provide.
Ashish Arun: Expert Witness Profiler is a custom legal research company that researches expert witnesses. It is different from finding experts. We do not find experts. That is your domain.
Dan Rubin: Right.
Ashish Arun: Attorneys usually come to us to get information on the opposing expert. Then our company prepares detailed reports where we find out about the experts and their performance in court and earlier cases. We check their background and do educational degree verification. Do they have any disciplinary actions against them in the past? Are their licenses and certifications current and active? Our reports include a complete snapshot of the expert and provides the attorneys with a blueprint on the expert’s previous cases. Were they excluded in the past? If so, on what grounds were they excluded and does that help the attorney in taking the expert down in court in their court case?
Dan Rubin: Sounds easy. It is not a challenging task, is it? There are not any challenges to doing all that research on an expert, are there? Kidding.
Ashish Arun: I wish life were as easy. Information is in the public domain. When it comes to federal courts, all these documents are on [Pacer] and there are document aggregators who supply search tools where attorneys can find all this research. It takes a lot of time and effort. Our team does this day in and day out. Over the years we have developed techniques and search queries that we use to find this information effectively. We make sure that no stones are left unturned. No matter how much time it takes, we make sure we [expend] every resource to uncover every piece of information available about an expert.
Dan Rubin: You just described our business within the context of research rather than finding the experts. That is why you are our trusted research partner. I can attest to the fact these reports are as comprehensive as you can get on researching your opposing experts or even your experts. They make sure there are no surprises at trial or in a deposition. We leave no stone unturned in terms of finding the attorney’s ideal expert, that you would then research before the attorney retains them, after they retain them, or their opposing experts. Do you have attorneys come to you to research their experts?
Ashish Arun. We would love for attorneys to research their experts as well but unfortunately, that is more an exception rather than the rule.
We have been trying to educate attorneys and talk to them about why it is important to research your expert before you retain them. The last thing you want as an attorney is a surprise where your expert has been excluded from a similar case in the past.
Dan Rubin: It is equally important if not more important that there are no surprises with your expert in depositions or, God forbid, at trial. Ashish, you are familiar with our expert referral service. One of the values that we add at Round Table Group is that we provide interviews between the attorneys and the expert candidates. In that interview, the attorneys can ask anything they like of the experts. What is their background, criminal history potentially, challenges to their testimony, the result of those challenges, and their expertise? We would be remiss if we did not recommend attorneys do their separate due diligence on the experts before using them at trial or as a consulting expert. It is an easy decision for attorneys to go to Expert Witness Profiler for the experts that they are thinking of retaining unless it is someone that they have already [vetted].
Ashish Arun: Attorneys should be vetting. They can be held liable by courts for not doing appropriate due diligence on their expert. There have been rulings in the past where the courts have fined the attorneys for not knowing who they were hiring, and it turned out the expert was not qualified. There was information that attorney should have known. It is also a question of personal liability for the attorney.
Dan Rubin: I know Myles Levin, your partner, the founder of Daubert Tracker, and Co-Owner of Expert Witness Profiler. A great guy, like you. Myles was telling me one of the things that inspired him to create Daubert Tracker, if I am not mistaken, was serving as an expert and he was aghast to see how the preparation for the direct examination of him and cross-examination of him was not as thorough as he would have expected from an attorney. It inspired Miles to get into the business, and why Expert Witness Profiler is an important and necessary resource today.
Ashish Arun: Another point I would like to highlight here is that when the company was started, we designed the product thinking that experts should know what attorneys know about them. That is a different angle altogether because many times an expert would get challenged and then by the time the expert’s role in the case is over, they do not find out the ruling on that challenge. So, we started the company to provide a service to experts, that would allow them to learn what an attorney knew about them and they could provide a better explanation for a challenge at the next deposition. Then we realized that the experts did not appreciate the importance of information like this. A lot of experts do order reports on themselves, but mostly we have seen that it is the attorney and the law firms who order these reports on opposing experts that are the primary use case.
Dan Rubin: Absolutely, and that is the experience that we have seen too when attorneys come to us looking for a resource for doing background research on an expert. It is [on the] opposing [experts]. You mentioned these reports are inexpensive, so are we talking a few thousand? I assume a couple of thousand.
Ashish Arun: Our most expensive product is $800 and has a 24-hour turn-around time. We try and keep them as inexpensive as possible. Many times, attorneys order a full report, which is $495. A full report includes the testimonial history, the challenge history, the educational and professional background, and personal information on the expert. We realize that an attorney may order a report, and if the expert does not have much experience working as an expert witness, the report may come back with no cases and no challenges. To take care of these instances, we have something called a preliminary screening report, where for $25 you can find out how much information you are likely to unearth on a particular expert. It will tell you how many possible Daubert challenges there are going to be on the expert. How many deposition transcripts? How many motions and briefings are out there, which name the expert? That gives our customers a sneak peek into the depth and the breadth of information they are likely to get on the expert before they order the full profile. If you order the primary screening report and then upgrade it to a full profile or a challenge study, we adjust the cost of the preliminary screening report with the final price. So, it is free.
Dan Rubin: It is $495.00 for your most comprehensive report and $25.00 before you even go into the research that is necessary for the Expert Windows Profiler Report to ensure there is sufficient information out there on the expert to justify the $495 charge.
Ashish Arun: That is right, and we encourage all our customers to order the preliminary screening reports before they order the final report. All our products come with a 100% money-back guarantee, no questions asked, so if you receive a report from an expert and you do not like what you see, or if you think it is not useful for you, we simply refund your money.
Dan Rubin: It is amazing.
Ashish Arun: We simply refund your money. We do not ask a single question and I am not exaggerating by saying that in the 10 years of being in this business, we have not had to issue a refund.
Dan Rubin: It is a product that you stand by and can back up with your word. What would you say to an attorney who is hesitating or debating whether to request an Expert Witness Profiler report on their opposing expert or their expert?
Ashish Arun: I would tell them to at least order a preliminary screening report because they are inexpensive, and they would be able to see if there are going to be normal challenges or more serious challenges.
Dan Rubin: What do you have to lose?
Ashish Arun: I am a firm believer that forewarned is forearmed. The more you know about your expert and the more you know about the opposing expert, the better it is for your case. It may sound like a few hundred dollars, but not knowing the right information and missing a case because of that is going to be much more expensive.
Dan Rubin: I think it’s worth a few hundred dollars for the good night’s sleep. The thought of being surprised in court or not being fully prepared, that alone [is worth] ordering the full report for only $495 to prove this expert has not testified much, or at all. Your clients and our clients are all looking to keep costs down to be more efficient and so, to me, it is an easy decision. It is a small price to pay for that peace of mind and for that comprehensive research. Switching gears, on a more personal note, I understand from Myles that you are a bit of a homebrewer of kombucha as well. You are a true Renaissance man.
Ashish Arun: I got married a couple of years ago and after our wedding, we went on a honeymoon. On the third day of the honeymoon, my wife developed chickenpox.
Dan Rubin: Fun honeymoon.
Ashish Arun: When we came back from the honeymoon, we thought, okay, it is just chickenpox. It is going to go away, but it eventually led to an autoimmune disorder, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which affects the nervous system. My wife mentioned to me that this drink called kombucha, which she had when she was traveling earlier, was supposed to be therapeutic, full of probiotics and it might help her condition. We looked it up online at kombucha outlets and I ordered some from the local brands in India. She found it was lacking in taste compared to what she had earlier. At that point, I made it my life’s mission to brew the world’s tastiest kombucha for her. That is how my kombucha brewing journey began. I was able to find some scoby, which is the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast you need to brew kombucha, on Amazon. That is when I started doing it and it has been a couple of years now. I have a four-gallon batch brewing right now.
Dan Rubin: Well, have you ever thought of selling it?
Ashish Arun: I did. We came up with a brand name and we designed the logo. I was going to call it Brew Mantra. Then the pandemic hit, and that plan went down the drain.
Dan Rubin: It is a future endeavor. I love that story. However, it makes me feel like a horrible husband because I have not made my mission in life to make my wife happy. I’m going to start after this call. Ashish, this has been great. I appreciate your time and I encourage our listeners to connect with and follow Ashish Arun on LinkedIn, and to check out expertwitnessprofiler.com and their unparalleled expert witness research reports. Send Ashish a note asking for his homebrewed kombucha recipe if you are willing to share it.
Ashish Arun: I would love to. Thanks a lot, Dan, for having me. It was great being on the show and I wish you the best.
Go behind the scenes with influential attorneys as we go deep on various topics related to effectively using expert witnesses.
Ashish Arun is a legal tech entrepreneur based in South Delhi, India. He is the Principal Owner of Expert Witness Profiler and the Founder of Exlitem Research Consulting, both of which provide research to legal professionals. Ashish specializes in developing legal research databases and creating intuitive web applications that make use of the best technologies available today. He is currently working on developing the largest expert witness database in the world.
Litigation is the process of legal action between two opposing parties who are working to enforce or defend a legal right. In most cases, the parties settle out of court by negotiating an agreement. Some cases go to court, where a judge or jury hear both side’s argument and determine how the case is settled.
Research is the collection and evaluation of information about a certain subject. It answers questions and creates new knowledge. Quantitative Research is the collection and examining of data. Qualitative Research is the study of the use and collection of a mixture of case studies, interviews, personal experiences, and life stories.