In The Attorney-Expert Relationship: Unraveling the Complexity, Peter T. Tomaras writes on his experience as a franchising expert witness:
Timing and Duration
Too frequently, attorneys seek expert consultation after substantially completing discovery–almost as an afterthought, as though attorney or client decide that a credible objective opinion might add weight to their arguments. Invariably, this results in the urgent need call: “We’ll overnight the discovery, but we need your feedback by next Friday latest.” It’s not unusual for the expert to accept the challenge, only to hear nothing more for months.
Some attorneys seem averse to conveying updates, and with the ease of e-mail, I think that is indefensible. Even a simple “we won’t be needing your services,” or a periodic “we are proceeding with discovery,” would be helpful. Being kept in the loop keeps experts pondering, rather than wondering. And the longer we ponder, the more we may enrich and fine-tune our opinions.
Understood: attorneys handle many cases simultaneously and deal with legal intricacies of which non-lawyer experts are ignorant. Motions and rulings, interrogatories and responses, coordinating of calendars and depositions, settlement negotiations–all this takes time. Still, in my field, where input from multi-discipline experts is minimal, most cases can be concluded within a year, two at most.
Not all; one, involving an assault of a hotel guest, dragged on for 42 months. Plaintiff counsel understandably waited for the criminal trial to conclude before proceeding with her civil case. Each time I asked what was happening, meanwhile and after, the response was the same: “Discovery.”