In Expert Witnessing During the Current Economic Downturn, Hydrology and groundwater expert witness Rick Van Bruggen, P.E., D.WRE, gives advice on for experts in a rough economy:
One thing I would recommend to Experts during rough times is to stay on top of your retainers, especially with plaintiff’s attorneys. Don’t let your bill get too big without frequent invoicing, and don’t put your Expert’s Report, or your testimony, out there without first getting paid. Also, it’s a great time to market your business, install new software, upgrade your computer, or to get those CEU’s through a training course.
I just updated my CV, wrote up two years worth of case descriptions for my Representative Case List, and cleaned up my computer files and company databases. I still hope to write a couple of articles (one down, one to go), go through a new software tutorial, and upgrade a computer O.S. (actually, downgrade: from Vista, back to XP Pro), while I’ve got some extra time on my hands.
For all of us sole proprietors: if you’ve got savings, don’t sweat it, and be prepared to possibly dip into it (especially if the recession lasts through 2009, as predicted). If you don’t have a nest egg in place, cut back on travel and dining out, and start marketing now. Most of the marketing that we do as experts (directories, search engine placement, place ads) doesn’t impact us for several months. That’s the thing about marketing, when you need to do it, you’re probably too late. For many of us, the majority of our case work comes from word of mouth referrals and through our constant contact with clients via newsletters and cold calls (hint, hint). Most importantly, hang in there. The economy runs in cycles and, eventually this cycle will run its course and you’ll come out of it stronger and more experienced.