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The Experienced Expert

The Expert Witnesses' Guide to Working with Litigators

Over the course of nearly three decades providing great expert witnesses to litigators, Round Table Group has developed a deep appreciation for well-run expert witness engagements — litigator, client and expert all working closely together and getting what they need without undue drama. But it doesn’t always go like that. Good project management and using expert witnesses really well aren’t law school priorities. And most first-time experts know almost nothing about the litigation process or what “expert witnessing” entails, let alone how to do a great job at it. Because of that, there are a lot of clumsy expert engagements and disappointed clients!

It’s our passion to make expert witness engagements go more smoothly. For the past two years we’ve been interviewing attorneys and experts on our podcasts about expert witness best practices and what each party wishes they’d known when they first got started. This blog distills the wisdom from those podcast episodes and combines it with our own experience to help expert witnesses get better at our important calling and become “experienced experts” without so much trial and error along the way.

Expert Portrait

Winding Down your Expert Witness Engagement

Expert witness engagements can wrap up in many ways, from quick settlements to full judgments. Most of the time, the duration of your work with a client will not coincide with the case ending, and your focus will shift to evaluation.   Read more >>

More Recent Posts

An Expert Witness Guide to Demeanor in the Courtroom

By Noah Bolmer The way in which expert witnesses present themselves in court directly impacts their perceived credibility by attorneys, juries, and judges. Take body language, appearance, and manner of speech into consideration to connect with, and impress audiences.    The Psychology of Demeanor  It is inherent human nature to place value in the mien…

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Expert Witness Ethics and Neutrality

While attorneys maintain a duty to the clients they represent, expert witnesses must remain impartial throughout the process. Read about some of the ethical considerations experts frequently contend with, and advice on remaining candid and neutral.  

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Expert Witness Strategies for Surviving Cross-Examinations

Our experts reveal their strategies for success on the stand, including preparation best practices and gambits against some of the common tactics used by attorneys to unsettle expert witnesses during cross-examinations. 

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Essential Advice for Expert Witnesses in Depositions and Trials

Testimony is an exciting and challenging aspect of expert witnessing. Listen carefully, answer patiently, and communicate effectively, and you will navigate questioning with equanimity.  

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Shorten Your Learning Curve as a New Expert Witness

Expert witnessing is a dynamic endeavor, with pitfalls to avoid and opportunities to harness. Through experience, you will find a rhythm that works for you and your clients, but being prepared is always the foundation to success.  

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Courtroom Strategies for Expert Witnesses

Read our latest blog about taking the lead, thinking ahead, and employing diffusing strategies to help you maintain a relaxed, confident demeanor in court as an expert witness.

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A Guide to Expert Witness Credibility

Credibility is the convergence of several attributes. Your expert opinions should be truthful and free from influence. Credentials give your opinions weight, and a relatable, attentive demeanor enhances your credibility to jurors. 

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Zeroing In: Keep your Expert Reports Clear and Focused

A clear and focused expert report highlights your expert opinion without opening doors for opposing counsel. Your well-tailored report is a powerful tool for your attorney, and a successful engagement for you.  

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Expert Report: The Substance is Only Half the Job

Presentation is important. A great expert report is not only free of mistakes, but readable and well-organized. Much like your subject matter expertise, great writing is a skill that comes with research and practice. Some of our experts share their insights with us. 

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Want a Better Expert Report? Be Collaborative!

Proactive, collaborative experts create better expert reports.  Find out what your client needs and all of the details before you start writing your report. 

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Understanding the Story the Attorney Wants to Tell

As you prepare to write your report and then defend it in deposition and court, it is important that you understand the story the attorney wants to tell about the case. You are part of a team, and each team member has a role in telling that story. 

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Understanding Your Case Assignment and Team Dynamics

While you can’t control the attorneys, it is important to push them to tell the whole story, see where you fit, and let them know if you think the fit changes as the story develops.

• Attorneys need experts to help them refine the story they want to tell in court

• Make sure the attorney tells you how you fit in the story

• Rules have changed making it easier for experts and attorneys to communicate

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Collaborate: Expert Witnessing is a Team Effort

Being an expert witness sounds like an individual calling. It isn’t, so be prepared to join the team. Read more about these following tips to help you succeed: make sure you know where everyone fits, consider creating your own team and collaboration breeds success.

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Expert Case Evaluation: Helping to Create the Story

While you never know exactly what an attorney may need or want from you, sharing your ideas in a thoughtful way after reviewing the documentation is often helpful.

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Expert Perspectives: How to Give an Attorney Bad News About Their Case 

Delivering bad news isn’t easy, but part of your job as an expert is to tell attorneys about issues with their theories as early as possible.

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Scheduling Expert Witness Assignments

Who knew project management would be such a big part of an expert witness engagements? Expert witness work is a start-and-stop process. The engagement could end at any time, have quick due dates, or the entire assignment could go on a multi-month or even multi-year break. With such uncertainty, organization is key. 

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Setting up Expert-Attorney Communication: Privilege 

Know the Rules   Rules change constantly, including the rules surrounding what types of communication are privileged between an attorney and an expert… and these rules can be different depending on the jurisdiction. As an expert, you need to make sure your attorney tells you the rules before you get into trouble. Expert Charles Ehrlich shares a…

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Expert Witness Tips: Lining up Expectations

As an expert, you need to understand both what the attorney needs and expects of you, and also ensure the attorney has reasonable expectations of what you need and what you expect from them.

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Expert Witness Tips: Building Communication & Trust with Attorney

Once you have signed the engagement letter with the attorney, it is time to set up the expert witness project. While you need the details (what you need to do when), first you need to set up lines of communication, set expectations and make sure you understand the rules, particularly the rules of privilege, that…

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Expert Witness How To: Exploring Engagement Letters, Retention Letters and Contracts

It seems so simple at the start. You want to work with the client and they want to work with you! Everything will work out fine, right? Most often it does, but consider the following things in your consulting agreements, just in case.

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Expert Witness Questions: To Use a Retainer or Not To Use a Retainer

Expert witness clients often pay slowly. Does that mean I should have a retainer? If so, what should my retainer look like?

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How To: Expert Witness Rate Structure

One of the first questions we frequently hear from new experts is “What should I charge?” Here’s what you should consider.

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Expert Witness Checklist: Am I Conflicted?

As an expert, checking if you are conflicted in a matter is important. Charles Ehrlich explains, “They [attorney] start talking away about their case and I have to say, ‘Wait, stop, stop, do not say a word. Who is involved here? Who is your client? Who is your opponent?’ I might have some involvement with one of those parties.”

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Initial Interview: Preparation & Checklist

Once the call starts, the attorney will have their agenda to go through, sounding out the expert on their expertise, outlining the matter and their idea of how the expert may fit with the case, etc. Experts should have an agenda, too.

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Why Should Expert Witnesses do a (Free) Initial Interview?

If you are so established in your field that everyone knows you, the attorneys may need less ‘face time’ to make up their mind about you, but it still behooves you to learn about the prospective client and their case. Participating in a pre-engagement interview is in your best interest.  

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Initial Expert Witness Interview: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

“We want the new case assignment, but short-fused deadlines can degrade the quality of the work product and testifying outside our sweet spot can be a career-killer. It is tempting to say yes when you ought to say no.” – Kevin Quinley, Insurance Expert

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How to Become an Expert Witness – Stories From Our Experts

You have many years of experience in your field and you have heard rumors about the potentially lucrative consulting opportunities in litigation. How do you become an expert witness?

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