In Four things an attorney should know about retaining an expert witness, construction site expert witness William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:
The decision to retain an expert witness is an important factor in any litigation. Strategic selection and communication with the expert can have a substantial impact on the case, from settlement options to court room testimony. The opposite is also true — the wrong choice of an expert witness can result in poor or negative results. I have compiled four recommendations for attorneys from an expert witness perspective.
2. Interview the Expert Interview the expert yourself; do not delegate this task. You understand your client and your case better than any of your assistants or paralegals. It is crucial that you hire an expert with whom you can work skillfully. You must have a clear understanding of the expert’s qualifications, ethics, communication skills, persuasiveness and personality. After all, it is you who will need to ensure your client that the expert witness on their case will conduct himself in a manner that you, the judge and the jury respect.
3. Exercise Caution in Your Selection Be skeptical of the expert who claims expertise in too broad an area. Make sure your expert has first-hand knowledge related to the issues in your case. Familiarize yourself with industry terms and language and listen for them during the interview.
Be wary of retaining the intellectual who has no practical application of his expertise in the real world. There is no substitute for experience.