Posted On: January 7, 2014 by Karen Olson

Evaluating The School Safety Expert Witness Part 6

In Evaluting An Expert Witness For School Safety Cases, school safety expert witness Michael Dorn writes:

Questions to Ask a Potential Expert Witness for School Safety Cases

...Top experts usually welcome and respect intelligent and careful clients who take the time to ensure the capabilities of the expert and the needs of the client are a good match. The most qualified experts know that the closer the prospective client looks, the better the expert witness will look compared to less qualified individuals. Though some experts might answer these questions untruthfully, an attorney might be able to recover damages from the expert if the case is lost due to the false claims of the expert.

Interviewing an expert with appropriate questions during the initial meeting can eliminate many potential problems. While most attorneys who contact a potential expert witness naturally focus on the case they have, it may be more productive to instead focus on whether the person is the right expert for the case. In most cases where I served as expert witness, the attorneys were referred to me by a third party and already knew about me and had vetted me to some degree. But there are things the attorneys would not be easily able to assess without asking me directly. For example, it would be hard for them to determine whether I have ever been withdrawn from a case or fired by an attorney unless they asked me directly. Though I have never experienced either, an attorney would likely not be able to determine this without inquiring.

Mr. Dorn is Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center.