10 Commandments of Experts
Reprinted with permission.
on November 3, 2011
Ten Commandments of Experts
…in reverse order. In true Old Testament style, we bring you a (hopefully
humorous) list of the top ten expert dos and don’ts.
10. Thou Shalt Not Covet Your Opponents’ Experts
Instead, locate a better expert. In the battle of
the experts, it’s about who can retain the strongest expert earliest in the game. This means using all the
resources at your disposal to find the right expert to get you the best settlement or judgment.
Thou Shalt Not Withhold Information from Your Experts
In recent years, there have been several examples of experts who have walked out of deposition or changed
additional facts forced them to reevaluate their opinions. The attorneys in these situations failed to follow
this commandment and limited the amount of information to which their experts had access.
No matter the
subject area, an expert is attempting to evaluate numerous data sources to determine a complex solution. Being
deprived of any element in this calculation is bound to result in erroneous answers that the expert later feels
honor-bound to recant. In his post about
how to best utilize damages experts, Clifford Fry lists document access as the first way an attorney can help
8. Thou Shalt Not Fail to Pay an Expert
Like attorneys, experts like being paid for their
time. However, failing to pay an expert is far more common than it should be. It happens when the invoice sits
neglected on an attorney’s desk, or when he waits too long to object to the expert’s charges, or when a client is
slow to pay.
Although this is a frequently broken commandment, several attorneys have learned that
refusing to pay an expert can result in sanctions. Therefore, it is best to simply pay an expert’s bills in a
timely manner. Submit their invoices to your client as soon as you receive them. If your client’s payment is late,
look into it. If you foresee payment problems in advance, let the expert know about them before you retain him.
7. Thou Shalt Not Swap Sides
Trying to tell attorneys not to commit adultery is a little pointless. Attorneys frequently hire experts who
previously worked for their opponents and even more frequently jump from one law firm to another. Therefore, this
commandment applies more directly to experts, who should
not approach an attorney after being retained by opposing counsel.
6. Thou Shalt Not Kill Your
When an expert begins his career as a litigation consultant, he enters a world
of Daubert trials, e-discovery and intense scrutiny. For your own benefit, and for his, you do not want to leave
your expert to navigate this labyrinth on his own. Detailing expectations, prepping an expert for testimony and
explaining what communications are acceptable all help keep experts out of hot water.
5. Honor Your
Experts and Your Clients
Honoring your experts is fairly straight forward. Provide all the
required documentation, give the expert plenty of time to perform his work and then pay him for his time. Honoring
your clients, however, has become an evolving area lately.
As John Reed wrote in his blog post about
the business of law, law firms are becoming more and more accountable to their clients for the time they spend
and the hours they bill. This results in business-oriented law firms, alternative fee arrangements and a number of
other efficiency-boosting efforts. To fit in this environment, attorneys can best work with their clients by
coordinating with them throughout the litigation process.
4. Remember the Date of Disclosure
The closer you get to the expert disclosure date, the more frantic your expert search becomes. In order to avoid
the panicked, last-minute search for an expert,
initiate your search
far enough ahead of your expert disclosure date to allow you time to review resumes, conduct interviews and assess
3. Thou Shalt Not Hold the Court in Contempt
This should be self-explanatory. If it isn’t obvious, it is not a good idea to have your expert testify on
topics the judge has told him to
refrain from discussing, pointlessly cross-examine an expert for hours, or tweet about your case in the
courtroom. In fact, it is usually not a good idea to have
what happens in the courtroom end up online.
2. Thou Shalt Not Hire Imitation Experts
Experts without the right experience, experts without the ability to present well and experts who don’t have the
credentials will not help your case. To present the strongest case, you need the best experts, and the
best experts combine technical knowledge with an ability to convey that knowledge. Hiring better experts with
a larger fee structure may actually save money in the long run and allow a litigation team to stay within budget.
The best experts construct a stronger case in less time, often resulting in an earlier settlement or quicker
1. Thou Shalt Not Have Any Other Expert Providers before IMS ExpertServices
IMS ExpertServices is the premier expert provider for complex civil litigation. We conduct a custom search to
locate the expert that matches your case needs and, best of all, we perform the search risk free.
Let us know if you are in need of experts or you think we missed a commandment.
This article was originally published in
BullsEye, a newsletter
distributed by IMS ExpertServices™. IMS Expert
Services is the premier expert witness search firm
in the legal industry, focused exclusively on providing custom expert witness searches to attorneys. To read this
and other legal industry
publications, please visit IMS Expert Services' recent articles. For your next expert witness search, call us at
877-838-8464 or visit our website.