Why Attorneys Should Use an Expert Witness Agency

Anjelica Cappellino, J.D.

Written by
— Updated on June 23, 2020

Why Attorneys Should Use an Expert Witness Agency

Oftentimes, expert witnesses can make or break a case. The overall purpose of an expert is to explain an issue of particularized knowledge or skill that may not be readily known or understood by the average fact finder. The types of experts that can be retained are as vast as the subject matter that can be litigated. The importance of retaining the right expert cannot be overstated. There are a number of ways to find an expert, but an expert witness agency, or also known as an expert services firm, can provide a witness tailored to the specific needs of the case.

When Should You Retain an Expert?

Generally, expert witnesses should be retained when the facts at issue in the case are complex and difficult to comprehend and the expert’s “scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue,” as stated in Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence which governs the admissibility of expert testimony. An expert can make a case stronger, provide favorable evidence, and offer a stamp of credibility to the fact finders. Experts can also be utilized outside of the courtroom.

Non-testifying experts, also referred to as expert consultants, can serve as private tutors to counsel by educating them on the issues. From the inception of litigation, experts can help identify the merits and weaknesses of the claims, develop a case strategy, review materials, draft necessary reports, prepare evidence, and estimate any applicable damages. There are many ways to gauge the value of an expert but typically educational background, credentials, professional experience, training, skill, and breadth of knowledge are all factors to consider.

There are also some areas of litigation that statutorily require expert services. By way of just one example, New York law requires an attorney to consult with a medical expert prior to filing a medical malpractice claim against a defendant doctor. Likewise, some case law requires expert testimony to prove certain elements of a cause of action, such as establishing negligence or deviation from the standard of care. Therefore, it is always important for an attorney to research the proof required for a specific claim prior to accepting a case in an unfamiliar area of law.

What are the Advantages of Using an Expert Witness Agency?

Finding the right expert can seem like a daunting task, as there are so many factors to consider. Expert witness agencies can help alleviate the burden, as they are professionals trained in connecting attorneys and litigants with an expert tailor-made to their specifications. Agencies have a much higher probability of choosing an expert to suit the needs of a case because they have access to databases full of qualified candidates (for example, The Expert Institute has a database of 3 million experts to choose from).

These experts are carefully selected from private and government databases, institutional directories, court filing systems, physician rating platforms, professional organizations, and through other search tools not widely available to the public. Expert names are not just collected but monitored and carefully screened through strict compliance procedures that conduct background checks on the expert’s licensures, criminal record, litigation history, corporate affiliations, and publications, all of which prevent a successful Daubert challenge by an opposing party seeking to exclude the witness’ testimony. The databases and search functions available to an expert witness agency also save counsel from wasting time (and billable hours) on a futile witness search.

With access to vast databases of experts that span across practice areas and industries, expert witness agencies connect attorneys to experts that are knowledgeable, experienced, and credible. But sometimes it is difficult for an attorney to immediately ascertain the type of expert that is needed. Agencies are particularly useful at the preliminary stages of litigation, as they can assess the merits of a claim and decide which course of action is best. Several experts may be necessary and in which case, the agency can assemble a team of professionals from different industries to work together.

Agencies are also equipped with researchers across every practice area that can identify the kind of experts that would work for the attorneys’ needs. The Expert Institute, for example, offers a team of in-house physicians that can be consulted for medical claims as well as quick questions.

Another important (but oftentimes underestimated) aspect of an expert witness is his demeanor, personality, and communication skills. If the expert will be testifying at trial, the main purpose is to help the jury better understand the facts at issue by explaining complex information in layman’s terminology. Thus, experts should know how to interpret their specialty, apply it to the facts at issue, and effectively communicate to an audience. It does not matter if the expert is the most qualified person in their entire industry, if a jury does not understand the expert, the testimony will be of little use.

Likewise, experts need to establish their credibility, which involves more than just reciting their résumé. They need to appear honest, personable, and trustworthy. The importance of a likeable expert does not just apply to experts that an attorney plans on calling to testify at trial. Non-testifying experts should also be amiable, well spoken, and easy to work with. They will undoubtedly be spending large amounts of time with counsel so a positive working relationship is necessary.

However, it is not always easy for an attorney to gauge these unquantifiable but critical characteristics from first meeting an expert randomly chosen from a web engine search. At expert witness agencies, all experts in the databases have been vetted in regard to their performances both in and out of the courtroom to ensure that they are not just experts in their fields but are experts at being experts. Thus, attorneys are guaranteed that the experts bring forth not just their knowledge base and skill set but also a stellar in-court performance record and an engaging, affable personality.

While choosing an expert may seem overwhelming, expert witness agencies are here to help and can offer attorneys a variety of options to choose from.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I am an