In The Attorney-Expert Relationship: Unraveling the Complexity, Peter T. Tomaras writes on his experience as a franchising expert witness:
The attorney/expert relationship is a tricky business in that experts are employed on behalf of one litigant–but are we members of the litigation “team?” One gratifying experience was working with a local attorney on a non-compete challenge to a proposed new business. Over several months, counsel and I separately compiled evidence. We met periodically to sift and consolidate our documentation. We analyzed possible opposition arguments. To prepare me for trial, counsel simply posed questions he might ask in direct, to hear how I would respond.
Unquestionably, being in the same city facilitated communication. Although counsel never attempted to influence my perspective, we worked first in parallel, then in convergence, and our interaction felt very much like a collaboration. Strictly speaking, it was not; although experts may become personally invested in cases, attorneys should work with us not as “team members,” but as independent, unbiased contract consultants.
The expert/attorney relationship is as fascinating as it is complicated. Many experts have spent a lifetime in their fields and have much to offer. For the foreseeable future, experts will comprise an important galaxy in the litigation universe. We–attorneys and experts alike–should welcome each new challenge as an opportunity to contribute constructively to the enduring quest for justice. To do so is more than a job; it is a privilege.