Why You Should Work With An Expert Witness Referral Service

Dani Alexis Ryskamp, J.D.

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— Updated on June 23, 2020

Why You Should Work With An Expert Witness Referral Service

Why You Should Work With An Expert Witness Referral Service

There are several expert witness referral companies stationed throughout the United States, each with different approaches to sourcing subject matter expertise for legal clients. When seeking an expert witness, connecting with one of these referral companies, like The Expert Institute, can help you better understand your options and secure the expert you need more efficiently.

Expert witness referral services can help you find a qualified expert more easily.

As the world has become more complex, so have many civil claims. The technological or scientific questions at issue in a products liability or medical malpractice case, for instance, can involve details the average juror, attorney, or judge may not have the specific knowledge to understand.

Tailoring your expert to your case is essential. Whether the state relies on the Daubert standard, has stuck with Frye, or has developed its own approach, your expert witness will need to meet certain qualifications related to their qualifications and methods of addressing key questions in your case.

An expert witness referral service can help by connecting you to experts with the relevant experience and knowledge, pre-screening the expert’s qualifications and background, and coordinating calendars, so that conflicts between the expert’s other obligations and case deadlines are avoided.

Referral services can produce more cost-effective outcomes.

Launching an expert witness search on your own can take considerable time and effort, particularly if the case involves unfamiliar or novel issues. The time and mental effort spent evaluating and screening experts is time that could be spent preparing for your case and to educating yourself on the its core issues.

In addition to saving time and effort, expert witness referral services can also save you money. For instance, your referral service may offer “flat fee” options. Many referral services connect attorneys directly to an account manager who can answer specific questions about billing and pricing. For law firms or lawyers who work in several different practice areas, a subscription program can help you ensure you have the flexibility you need without sacrificing access to the broad range of experts your cases require.

Avoid turning your case into a cliché.

Every practice area and court system has its “regulars” – the experts who are called in again and again in certain types of cases to discuss the same methods, processes, facts, or issues.

While there are benefits to relying on a “regular” in some cases, the risks can potentially outweigh the benefits. A “regular” may be conflicted out of your case, forcing you to scramble for a replacement. This expert’s well-worn habits of testifying or of framing certain topics may grate on the jury or may not mesh perfectly with your case. The credibility of a “regular” may be called into question by opposing counsel, who can frame the expert witness’s repeated participation in legal cases as unprofessional or biased. Judges, too, develop opinions of expert witnesses, and the more a particular expert has appeared, the stronger a judge’s opinion will be.

An expert witness referral service can help you avoid these pitfalls by connecting you to well-qualified witnesses who don’t carry the baggage of a “regular.” Look for a referral service with a deep roster of experts or the ability to execute custom searches, and ask the service how they monitor their expert witness’s participation in various cases.

The referral service can even provide more insight into your case’s core issues.

Attorneys specialize in understanding the law: its development, its interpretation and application, its procedures, and its language.

Expert witness referral services specialize in (almost) everything else. When your referral service has experts “on staff,” the service becomes capable not only of connecting you to expert witnesses, but also of providing a breakdown of technical terms or issues, of reviewing documents or other items, and of providing guidance on topics that fall outside an attorney’s realm of expertise.

Often, support in these areas is cost-effective, can help you more easily understand and plan your case, and builds relationships with reliable experts outside the well-known pool of “regulars” that appear in your local courts. It’s like having a Ph.D. in your pocket, without the stress of the dissertation.

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