How to Choose an Expert Witness, Business


As a litigation attorney, you likely know that an expert witness can easily make or break a case. The right expert witness can help make a win easier, but the wrong one can scuttle a case entirely.

Choosing the right expert witness and having a proven system for doing so, is vital to the success of any attorney or firm. Below are a few steps you should take to ensure that you make the right choice for you and your clients.

  1. Consider Specialization

When looking for an expert witness, finding an expert in the field is a must. You’ve got to find someone with a proven record of expertise to feel confident about his or her testimony. When looking for that expertise, you should focus as tightly as possible.

For your bank fraud case, choose a banking expert witness instead of just a financial one. Instead of finding just a general mental health witness, look for someone with a proven authority in Lewy Body Dementia if that’s what the case calls for. The tighter the focus, the better.

  1. Look For Experience

Experience in the relevant field of expertise is, of course, important. That’s not the only type of experience you should value, though. Both the witness stand and the deposition room are stressful, difficult places to be. Without practice in those situations, it can be extremely difficult to perform when necessary.

Find a witness that has testifying experience. If you do, you can rest assured that cross-examination won’t be too much for her to handle.

  1. Look Out For Conflicts

If you don’t do your due diligence, conflicts can surprise you and waylay your case. Do careful research into your potential witness’ publication history, speaking engagements, and any other publically available intel to sniff out potential conflicts. Taking the time at the outset to do this research can save you an embarrassing surprise in the courtroom.

When you find the right expert witness that meets all of your stringent criteria, it can pay off. If not, you’re simply putting more roadblocks in your path to victory.

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