In this episode…
Every field of litigation relies on expert witnesses to build a strong argument out of evidence, and commercial and workplace cases are no exception. But, with different witnesses needed for different cases, how can you maximize your use of each expert?
With almost 20 years of litigation experience, Brian Weinthal has used his fair share of expert witnesses. As he says, they have made a critical impact on the results of his cases, both in commercial law and work-related disputes. So, what is Brian’s advice for optimizing your time with expert witnesses while preparing a case for trial?
In this episode of Engaging Experts, Russ Rosenzweig interviews Brian Weinthal, Partner at Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C., about his perspective on the role of expert witnesses in litigation. Brian discusses his time practicing criminal law in the US Navy, his strategies for maximizing the use of expert witnesses during a trial, and how COVID-19 has impacted employment law. This is an episode you won’t want to miss!
Note: Transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
Host: Russ Rosenzweig, CEO and Co-Founder, Round Table Group
Guest: Honorable Brian Weinthal, Previously Partner at Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C.
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.
Russ Rosenzweig: Hi, this is Russ Rosenzweig, I am the CEO and one of the Co–Founders of Round Table Group and the host of this podcast series Engaging Experts. We have a great guest for your today, Brian Weinthal. Brian is a partner at the law firm of Burke Warren in Chicago. He is also one of the world’s leading experts on using experts in the trial context. Brian has been one of our beloved repeat customers at Round Table Group for over a decade. Thank you.
Brian Weinthal: Thank you for having me, Russ. I appreciate it. It is great to be here.
Russ Rosenzweig: Well, I can’t wait to dive in, and before we do, here is a brief message from our sponsor.
Announcer: This episode is brought to you by Round Table Group, the Experts on Experts®. We have been connecting attorneys with experts for over 25 years. Find out more at roundtablegroup.com.
Russ Rosenzweig: Brian Weinthal, welcome again. My plan for our podcast today is to introduce our listeners first to you and your practice, after which we will dive into some of the nuances of how you use expert witnesses in your work as a litigator. Does that sound good?
Brian Weinthal: Sounds like a plan my friend.
Russ Rosenzweig: Let’s start where I love to start, which is in college. You attended Johns Hopkins. I am not sure if you know this, Brian, but that university has a special place for us because Round Table Group was founded in Baltimore. One of my co-founders, Bob, was living in Baltimore. His wife Sarah was earning her Ph.D. at Hopkins in Public Health. One of our very first visits to a university campus was at Johns Hopkins where we were busy recruiting professors in the 90s to become expert witnesses. How did you like Hopkins, and did you know you would go into law when you were there?
Brian Weinthal: Well, that is a hysterical story. I did not know we were even further connected beyond my long-term use but that is a great link. It shows you how six degrees of separation are a real thing. I loved Hopkins. I thought it was great. I always had a much stronger proficiency in the English language. That might be because I had a mother who was an English teacher for many years. She was the one that students hoped they did not get because during senior year of high school put an F on their paper if they used the wrong there, their, and they’re. I did not have the proficiency that many of my colleagues did in math and sciences. I was always stronger on the English and language arts side and certainly always loved arguing in a public presentation.
Two things inspired me to pursue a career in law while I was at Hopkins. First, was my love of the language arts, but at the same time, it was going to be difficult to turn a liberal arts degree into an appreciable and lucrative career with just simply a college degree. We were getting to the point where college was no longer the first step into the workplace. Now an advanced degree is needed to go forward. I had a wonderful time at Hopkins and got everything I could out of it. I knew there was going to be more education in my future.
Russ Rosenzweig: Well, that is something else we have in common. My mom was an English as a second language (ESL) teacher.
Brian Weinthal: That is great. You and I have weird connections. Remind me, Russ, where are you from and where did she teach?
Russ Rosenzweig: New Jersey. This is all in Parsippany, New Jersey.
Brian Weinthal: I am from Jersey as well. That is another connection we have.
Russ Rosenzweig: Amazing.
Brian Weinthal: That is too funny. That is great.
Russ Rosenzweig: Here is something else we have in common. After Hopkins, you went to law school at Northwestern, which is my alma mater.
Brian Weinthal: I did.
Russ Rosenzweig: That is where we diverge because, after Northwestern law, you joined the Navy and the JAG Corps. Thank you for your service. That is a big deal. We are huge supporters of our veterans and we donate a lot to veteran’s legal aid clinics. I think our listeners would love to hear what it is like to be in the JAG Corps and what you did there?
Brian Weinthal: Well, Russ, you are thanking me, but of course, I see your online activity and a lot of your social media posts, I know how supportive Round Table Group has always been to our veterans. I will thank you in return.
Let me say that the military was one of the most fun jobs I have ever or will ever have. Out of law school I was doing things that many practicing warriors, even today, don’t get the opportunity to do. We do cross-examining of witnesses, planning for openings, and conducting trials on day one. I will never forget when I got out of the Navy’s training program and was assigned an attempted murder case on my first day. I remember going to my office, reading the file, and then not knowing what to do after we read the file. What do you even do next in a court case? I will never forget they brought this 18-year-old accused of attempted murder to my office. He looked at me and he said, “How long you been doing this Lieutenant?” Thinking on my feet quickly, I just looked at him with a very straight face and nodding said, “Awhile.” While it was only two or three days earlier. That said it was still an incredible opportunity to get experience in the courtroom on day one. I have to tell you, and I know we will talk about this further later in the interview, experts were a huge part of what I was doing, even in the criminal space experts played a part. That said, it was a blast of a job. I got the opportunity to do things I never would have had the chance to do had I started on the civilian side. That began with defending folks in criminal proceedings. Young sailors and soldiers in criminal proceedings and moved on from there to some more in-house counsel activities. I ended my time in the JAG Corps at Guantanamo Bay prosecuting the Al-Qaeda and Taliban members we have detained there, which was a mind-blowing experience.
Russ Rosenzweig: Well, you have been there.
Brian Weinthal: I have been there and seen a lot of the folks you probably heard of and interacted with them. It was a fantastic opportunity to do something that I think even nowadays people cannot say. Resume-wise, not that having a resume, because that gets less and less important as you get older. Experience matters much more as you get older, but I can still say that I am one of the few people that had the opportunity to try an American War Crime Tribunal. In terms of a job that allowed me to distinguish myself, nothing could have been better. I loved the life and that flat-top haircut. They were some of the best days of my life. It was a good time and a fun experience.
Russ Rosenzweig: Brian, that was an amazing experience. I think we need to dwell just one more minute. I am so blown away. You were in a war crimes tribunal. Were you patriotically defending these people? Were you prosecuting? What was that like? What was the emotion? Give us a sense.
Brian Weinthal: It was an incredible time in American history. We are talking about the period, roughly five to six years out from 9/11. It was a fascinating time, because in the country if you were working for the government, your worth was being measured by your involvement with the intelligence community. How involved were you in Homeland Security? That is what gave you your power.
The American political government structure, for me, was amazing to watch because I was part of a system that was set up to try a distinct group of people confined at Guantanamo Bay. I was following a set of rules, that while I may or may not have agreed with, but I was not high enough up in the power structure to change those rules. As a prosecutor, I had to make some novel decisions. Among those decisions was the discretion of whether or not to use evidence obtained from what we called enhanced interrogation techniques. That was an interesting ethical dilemma, a look at American legal theory, and the decision-making process we had to use. I think a lot of people were concerned with the idea of whether we could use this evidence or not. It was rare that somebody would ask a prosecutor whether or not you should use evidence of that nature, because for me, trying a case where I had a piece of evidence that might have been obtained through an enhanced interrogation technique may not fly too well in front of a group of average jurors who are hearing that evidence. What would they have said if that was used on them? That was a much different question for politicians who were simply thinking, “Can we use it, or not, and will it help us?”
Just because you can use a piece of evidence as any expert will tell you doesn’t mean that it will be beneficial to you. It can be a cool opportunity to watch American history unfold. I think in years to come Guantanamo Bay will be lamented in terms of a moment in history where we look at what the jurisprudence was and what we could have done. It was a neat time to be a junior guy in that power scheme and see how things worked.
Russ Rosenzweig: What did you ultimately decide? Did you use the enhanced interrogation evidence? What were your thoughts on it then, and what are they now?
Brian Weinthal: I felt then as I feel now, which is that evidence associated with information gleaned from enhanced interrogation tactics is not beneficial to you. As a prosecutor, the way I approached this issue was if I were a juror what would I want to hear? If I heard evidence that had been obtained in that manner, it was not going to have true validity to me. It was too close to coercion, as far as I was concerned. As a prosecutor, I would typically make the election not to use that evidence, and I think it was the right call.
Ultimately, we did a lot of good trying to focus on the true allegations we had against some folks and I have to tell you, Russ, as a defense or prosecution guy, when you are working in criminal law it is important to always recognize that everything is grey. As the defense, every client you have has not been charged as part of a huge government conspiracy. There are some guilty people out there. As a defense person, you have to figure out the best way to defend those folks. As a prosecutor, not everyone is the axis of evil or has truly engaged in the worst behavior you could ever imagine. I used to go up against a prosecutor for whom even the simplest crimes always got the maximum. “Your Honor, this sailor stole a CD from the Navy exchange and he should get the maximum.” Is stealing a CD the type of intensive crime that we throw a kid in jail for the maximum sentence? You have to look at the gray areas and you have to play your case for as much as you can get rather than always trying to shoot the moon on both sides of the house. That is what I learned from criminal law.
Russ Rosenzweig: Very well said, Brian. I think this is why we love working with lawyers like you. It is the issues you face that are so intellectually interesting and philosophically profound. By the way, I see a beautiful sword behind you. Does that have something to do with your Navy days?
Brian Weinthal: It does. That was the sword I would wear for formal occasions. Sword wearing in the military other than weddings and a few other top-level occasions were rare, but that was my sword. When I got out and went into private practice, I had mounted on the wall. I figured it was a great use for it because I do not get a lot of use for swords otherwise.
Russ Rosenzweig: You just went from cool to coolest.
Brian Weinthal: Thanks, Russ
Russ Rosenzweig: In my mind, we at Round Table Group, some of us like swords and the chivalric era.
Brian Weinthal: You have the coolest of companies.
Russ Rosenzweig: Thanks for sharing that. Let’s transition to your current work as a partner at Burke Warren in Chicago. I am struck by the diversity of your practice. Many of our listeners are fellow business owners and executives like me and I was intrigued by some of the work you are doing in defense of workplace grievances, allegations of discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environments. Would you like to share a bit about your work in that context?
Brian Weinthal: Sure. I think your listeners will be let down in the sense that I am less cool nowadays than I was back in my military times. I have found a good niche in private practice with a great firm that I enjoy. I am with Burke Warren where my primary bread and butter is litigation. My particular variety of litigation tends to be most focused on the workplace. Helping companies deal with problematic employees or hopefully helping companies deal with problems before they explode into litigation. The most satisfying work I do is to prevent the case from being brought in the first place.
Russ Rosenzweig: Preventative maintenance.
Brian Weinthal: Exactly right, an ounce of prevention goes a long way in terms of providing a claim from coming up on the back end. Ultimately, I help employers deal with workplace issues. We think of traditional workplace issues as claims discrimination, retaliation, or things like that. An employee who does not get a promotion and argues that was because of race, gender, or another protected category. If an employee in the workplace is being harassed by a manager or another employee and the company receives a claim as result, I get involved and help the companies get rid of or dismiss those claims in the most efficient, quick, and economical means that we can.
Interestingly, my work has been changing over the past year as the result of COVID, which we can get to, and some decision making by the Illinois Supreme Court in two very different areas. First, I have been helping employers over the past 10 months or more, deal with COVID-19 related issues. Whether that be sick leave for employees who are eligible for paid sick leave under the FFCRA for COVID or becoming infected with COVID, or issues relating to leave, disability discrimination, or religious discrimination as we move into the era of vaccines and whether or not employers are going to mandate vaccines in the workplace. It is a fascinating issue and I have talked to as many clients as I can to figure out where they are going with this over the next few months. Once we have enough vaccine, businesses are going to have to decide where they are going to put their foot down and require all employees to get it before everyone comes back.
The other big area that I have worked on thus far is what we call BIPA claims. BIPA is the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. It is a small, unknown statute that says if you capture any fingerprint, retinal face recognition, or other biometric information from somebody you have to have consent first. No one seems to know about the statute, and many Illinois businesses and businesses outside the state operating in Illinois are getting sued because they do not have the proper consent in place before they take that information. It is significant because Illinois is the only place in the country that has a private right of action. One reason businesses need to get concerned about it is that Facebook just settled up to the tune of roughly $650,000,000 for a BIPA class action asserted against it. It is something to know about if you are in Illinois. If you are in any way collecting biometric information in Illinois as an employer, you should look into this statue. Let me give you some free information about it. Get familiar with it and put the necessary consent in place so you are not the next victim of a class-action lawsuit.
Russ Rosenzweig: Brian, I recently turned 50.
Brian Weinthal: You look great, Russ.
Russ Rosenzweig: Thank you, brother. I was hoping for something like that.
Brian Weinthal: Give me anything right?
Russ Rosenzweig: Sometimes, when I read the news and hear stories like this, I just wonder if I am in a different world between what is in my mind and what I read in the news. On the COVID topic, my octogenarian parents and my in-laws just got their vaccines. My wife Lucy, and I cannot wait until they open it up to 50 somethings so we can get ours, and I just thought, who would not want a vaccine? It is the miracle of the last 1000 years that the vaccine became available so quickly. On the topic of biometrics, you know every day I start my Mac by putting my finger on it and I thought it was a foregone conclusion that the way of the world is biometrics in terms of security and entering into office buildings when we start going back again. Here I am hearing from you that you could be subject to a BIPA suit if that happens. Give us more detail on BIPA and what companies need to know. Also, I am very curious to hear your take on vaccines. Will companies mandate them?
Brian Weinthal: Let’s take both of those in segments. When it comes to BIPA, the requirements are simple. If you are going to scan someone’s fingerprint, scan their retina, or take a picture of their facial geometry, you need consent first. How does this blow up into a lawsuit? What Illinois BIPA says is that for every quote unquote violation you are subject to a statutory penalty of either $1,000 for a negligent violation or $5,000 for a reckless violation. The statute was written many years ago, and because the plaintiff’s bar did not key into it until some key decisions recently, there is no definition of a violation. Let me explain how this works. Any plaintiff’s bar is going to argue that if their client came to work in the morning, scanned their fingerprint, left to go to lunch, and scanned out. Then came back after lunch, scanned in, and then scanned out at the end of the day to leave, that those are four separate violations entitling that person to $5,000 each for a total of $20,000 for one day for one employee. Multiply what that employee does over a 252-day work year by $20,000 a day, multiply that by the number of employees they have, which could be anywhere from 100 to thousands. Then multiply that by the number of years back that they can go, since BIPA has no current statute of limitations is indicated. It can be for as long as they want. To be clear, any BIPA action brought is immediately going to be an unfair multiplier category of hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. When in reality most places probably have no actual damage of any kind to show for any scans that have been taken. Few people have suffered identity theft as a result of this, since companies are good at keeping this information safe. That is how the plaintiff’s bar is using it.
You can get rid of those potential liabilities by having a simple consensus in place. Most people do not know about it and once they get hit with a hundred of millions of dollars suit, they are no worse for the wise. They do not know it was coming and by that point, it is too late. You have a class action you have to try and get rid of. That is the dynamics of operating a BIPA at the moment as I said it is so ironic because simple consents put in place by a law firm can get rid of that potential liability for you. That is why BIPA is such a hot topic right now. The courts have shown little inclination to allow defendants out of these suits. There are very few ways to dismiss this once you get hit with them.
On the vaccine side, it is an interesting question. Let me pivot now and talk about vaccines for just a moment. At least thus far, Russ, my recommendation to clients has been for the moment while supply is low, strongly encourage, but do not require vaccination. For the moment, tell your employees we love it. We support it. It is a great thing. We strongly encourage you to go and get it but do not mandate them to do so until two things happen. First, we get enough supply of vaccine, such that it is readily available to anyone who can go out and get it immediately. Second, we see what happens first to the companies that are going to take the chance of mandating it. Let’s see what their liability looks like before we go ahead and follow suit so that we are not at the tip of the spear. Many times, I will tell clients who want to be leading the charge, this is not a time for businesses to want to lead the charge.
I think for the moment based on supply and based on where the law is, I would recommend that businesses strongly encourage but not require employees to get vaccinated as a condition of coming back.
Russ Rosenzweig: Very wise, Brian. Thanks for sharing that. If any of our listeners want to dive in a little more deeply with you on topics related to workplace grievances, BIPA, or policy regarding recommendations for the vaccine, would it be okay for them to reach out to you?
Brian Weinthal: Absolutely. I am Brian with an “i”. The last name is Weinthal. W-E-I-N-T-H-A-L. I am on Burke Warren’s website, but I also have a very active LinkedIn presence as well, which is where I post most of my content that relates to these topics and more. So please feel free to check it out. I would love to speak to anybody that has concerns in these areas. This is something that speaking to a lawyer early on can prevent problems you would not believe on the other end.
Russ Rosenzweig: I just made a note here on the topic of BIPA and sent an email to our in-house counsel to make sure we never implement biometrics in our company. The risks are just too high.
Brian Weinthal: That is a command–level executive decision on your part, Russ and I love it.
Russ Rosenzweig: I am struck by the diversity of your practice and all the work that you do at Burke Warren. I am moved that you have been one of our beloved favorite and best repeat clients when it comes to expert witness recommendations. Thank you for that. You use experts a lot in the course of your practice. Many of our listeners are your peers, litigators who would love to hear your take on the expert witness recommendation side, which is where we focus our efforts. Once retained, what are some of your tactics, strategies, and techniques for optimizing experts and using and managing them well? If you would not mind sharing.
Brian Weinthal: Absolutely. Remind me I want to come back to how I first got involved with Round Table Group because that is important for your listeners to know. There is almost no form or type of litigation, where experts are not the primary or the only witnesses that are going to make the difference in terms of what happens in the case.
Russ Rosenzweig: That is the best news I have heard all year. Thank you for that.
Brian Weinthal: It is true on the business side, the commercial side, and the employment side. Experts are pervasive. They are everywhere, so finding a great expert to go to bat for you, in that case, is going to be critical. I cannot remember the last time I had litigation that did not involve the expert in one form, if not multiple forms. In terms of maximizing your use of an expert and getting the best out of your expert, what I find critical to do is make sure the expert knows their part in the story that you are telling. I think a lot of people retain experts and say Mr. Expert here you go. Here are the documents I would like you to review and I would like you to come up with their opinion on X. I think you need to go beyond that when you work with an expert. I think rather than just silo the expert or give the expert the chance to look at a limited number of documents in the case. You have to tell your expert what is the story that we are telling here. The story, of course, is that X company looked at the biometrics in these previous years. They found that biometrics was going to work well for them and that ultimately because of the research they did into that they decided to make a decision X, Y or Z in the future. ”What I need you to do, Mr. Expert, when you come to your part in this story is to give me the feedback that a technology company or other company with Company X might have needed to use biometrics in the early 2000s. Does that make sense, Mr. Expert?” You need to give them their role in the story. They need to know like anybody else, what part they are playing. It is like when we talk about kids in a high school play. If the child does not know where their character fits in what they are doing, they are going to walk on stage, deliver their line in a vacuum, and it is over. If the expert knows what it is, you are relying on them to do their part of this tale that you are telling the jury, they are going to be far more effective in terms of communicating what it is that they are trying to get to the bottom of. Not only that, but they are also going to be more persuasive because they know what it is you are trying to do with what it is, they are giving.
I find so many people who work with experts and put them in this box where they only talk to him once a week on Tuesday and they only talk about the “Smith” report, which is what they gave me to look at.
We cannot silo them and put them in a vacuum-like that. The new federal rules give more freedom for attorneys to speak and converse with experts than when I started doing this with you. It used to be that any document, any wisp of anything you had, immediately had to be turned over to an expert and the other side. It was discovered the federal rules have tightened since then. There is more freedom for attorneys to communicate with experts about theory and about what their actual views of a case are. If you are not maximizing your time with an expert, to explain to them their role, you are just letting the best opportunity to sell a persuasive part of your case go by. I see people spend tons of time with lay witnesses and go through this cursory analysis with the expert thinking, “Well, you are an expert, so you should be able to just deliver what it is you are going to deliver persuasively.” It cannot work like that. You have to include them as if you are preparing a lay witness. It is the same kind of theory.
Russ Rosenzweig: This is a nice insight and kind of harkens back to the Hopkins story of studying English and I presume reading literature. What you are describing is a narrative. The whole dispute strikes me as a story. The expert plays a key role in the story. They need context to fulfill that role as a storyteller, Many, great lawyers if nothing else, are the best storytellers of our day. I just love that. Can you say a little more about that? That is quite brilliant.
Brian Weinthal: You hit the nail on the head, which is to say that all litigation and all trial work is telling a story. At the end of the day, you are going to have to stand before a group of 12 people that have absolutely no backing in this stuff and tell them a persuasive story. The biggest crime that lawyers commit in their practices is getting so involved in their cases that they cannot explain it to somebody who has not been living and breathing it for any period. Let’s be candid with the listeners. Litigation is a long-drawn-out process these days. Let’s multiply that by at least double in the COVID era because I have cases that are not getting a hearing for 8-9 months out. Remember if you cannot break down your story into something that a child could understand, you are going to go over the heads of people that do not have the backing and do not do it day to day. I am not embarrassed to admit that I will oftentimes ask either my young cousins or their friends to try a theory out on them and explain it, because if I can communicate it in a way that makes sense to them. I know that I will have no problem communicating it to a group of adults that do not have the backing in law or this theory. The number of openings I see where people launch right into “well, what you will see in the Smith document is that the annualized rate for this…” You have already lost them. Their eyes have already glazed over. They have no clue what you are saying so you have to make it easy to understand. You have to tell a story that people not only understand but care about it. If you are boring and they do not care about what is your client is aggrieved about. they are going to sit there, and they are going to sleep. You are going to get a head dipping back in the chair with the chin opening as you give a two-hour examination of somebody. You need to make it interesting and easy to understand for anybody hearing it for the first time
Russ Rosenzweig: It reminds me there is a small group of our clients that pride themselves on doing trial prep. They engage mock jurors who are all 7th graders.
Brian Weinthal: Genius.
Russ Rosenzweig: The young adults, teens, and adolescents get it. The emotion or lack thereof is what resonates with them and taking that simple storytelling narration idea and applying it into the expert contexts is great. Thanks for sharing.
Brian Weinthal: Sure, Now I promised you I would get back around to the beginning because I want to give your listeners some context in terms of working with Round Table Group. When I got out of the military, in 2007, I joined a private law firm for the first time. I saw, ironically, what I still see nowadays when it comes to people looking for resources in their cases. These strange esoteric mailings go out talking about an area of expertise that I would not have when I was 87 years old. I do not think I would know a metallurgy expert in the Chicago area that can tell you the atomic weight of cobalt, but yet lawyers send these requests around their firms all day long. Can anybody recommend a good engineering firm that can do X, Y & Z? The chances of connecting with any of these connecting experts by simply asking anyone in your firm is close to zero if not zero. So, I was quickly a victim of this in 2007 when I moved into a private law firm. I said there has got to be a better way and I did network for various expert location services. I am trying to remember if I received an email from Round Table Group, or if I met somebody, I think it was an email. I said, Well, look I do not know most of them from Adam, but let me try these guys. I called the company and spoke with a guy by the name of Mike Stern, who was one of the friendliest and most accommodating guys I have ever talked to. I forget what the expertise was I needed, but it was something so bizarre that even nowadays I have a hard time remembering what it was. Within an hour or two Mike had at least three names for me of folks that worked in those industries and had incredible academic pedigrees. I could talk through and discuss to all three in advance of the case, just to see who I connected with best. It blew me away because not only was it the easiest service you could ever possibly imagine, but I also used the experts I retained and did exceptionally well with that person in my first civil litigation case.
I was sold and I have stuck with you guys, not only while you were Round Table Group, but for the period you went over to Thomson Reuters. Mike Stern was always my go-to guy, but he is now retired. I hope he is on the beach sipping a cocktail. It is exciting to be back with you guys even after the transition because, ironically enough, not even two days ago I got a message from someone at my firm looking for an expert in bridge construction weakness, which is something I don’t know anything about and will never know about as long as I live. I immediately turned around and said, “I know the guys to call.” It is incredible to have this resource and the messages still go around. I know that anybody in a law firm listening to this podcast is going to say the same thing, which is I get a message a day for my partners asking for things that I do not have any clue about. Let me tell all those people listening to contact Round Table Group because it is easy. It is straightforward and the experts I have been in touch with have just been fantastic. So, I owe you a big thank you. This is coming after 13 years of being in stride step with you guys so thank you for those 13 years. You are evidence that expert location services work when you have a great service to do it for you. Thank you for that Russ. I wanted to get that out there to you and your
Russ Rosenzweig: Cheers, Brian. That is so gracious of you, I appreciate it. We are humbly proud of this small role that we play in trying to make our judicial system even better for 26 years now. God help me. I have been hearing our clients, litigators from all over the country saying we find our experts by asking around. Who do we know? Who did we use last time? Maybe try to do a Google search and it is not that thorough. It is not that rigorous. For all these years we have been trying to hone, refine, and perfect the process of making that a little easier for litigators.
Brian Weinthal: It would probably be difficult for somebody not to find what they are looking for from you. There is no parameter I have ever given you that you were not able to cover in terms of more greatly refining the type of expert I needed. If a person had a pedigree in this degree, could I also get testifying or report writing experience? You had access to it. Begrudgingly, much as it will pain me, Russ, I have to acknowledge Dan Rubin, who is now my current contact at Round Table Group. He replaced Mike Stern and while it will pain me to do it, he is an incredible client contact. I have to make sure I acknowledge him because not only does he get me exactly what we need, but he is a darn nice guy to deal with. He and I are overdue in this pandemic for a drink out here in Chicago when he gets back out in this direction.
Russ Rosenzweig: Thanks for the shout–out. Dan is great. While we are on it, we have 30 people here now. Do you know most of my colleagues who work with lawyers like you are themselves, lawyers? Or have multiple degrees next to their names. We are proud of our people here. To conclude, I would love to hear just a little bit, if you are willing, about what you like to do, Brian, outside of work. What are your hobbies and interests?
Brian Weinthal: Well, I will tell you that I have an 11-year-old son who I adore. Connor is on the autism spectrum, so I spend a lot of time working and helping him appreciate and understand the world around us as best we can through the issues we work through. That takes up a good amount of my time and I love every moment I spend with him. When I am not spending time with Connor, I have to admit, I don’t think I have put this out there in any other context, but I am a closet nerd when it comes to tropical and marine fish keeping. I love setting up aquariums, designing them, putting the right mixture of fish in there, taking care of them, and maintaining the chemistry of the water. It is an old habit that my dad and I got into when I was a kid and have always enjoyed it. So, I will put that out there to the extent that it is a weird connection that hopefully resonates with somebody, it is a blast and a good time when I am not doing this law thing.
Russ Rosenzweig: Well, thanks for sharing. Brian Weinthal, ladies, and gentlemen. Whenever you need help with any of your litigation matters, workplace grievances, BIPA, and aquarium chemistry, Brian is here for you. Great discussion. Thanks again.
Brian Weinthal: Thank you so much for having me, Russ. I appreciate it and it has been great talking to you.
Russ Rosenzweig: Cheers.
After a quarter century helping litigators find the right expert witnesses, Round Table Group’s network contains some of the world’s greatest experts. On the Discussions at the Round Table podcast, we talk to some of them about what’s new in their field of study and their experience as expert witnesses.
Brian Weinthal was a trial lawyer and p artner at the Chicago-based law firm, Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. Brian got his start with the US Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG Corps), where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. From there, Brian worked for the law firms Gilbert LLP and Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP before joining Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella. His primary focus is on the defense of workplace grievances, from discrimination to retaliation to hostile work environments.
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