Finding an expert witness often requires assistance such as a database, expert hiring agency or research into the local area to discover if there exists someone with the relevant knowledge of the subject matter that is in the case. Once the lawyer and legal team find this professional, it is time to interview and then determine if a hire is the next step.
The First Step through Understanding
Before an expert is part of the claim or case, the lawyer will need to know why a certain expert is necessary or what type of professional will help with certain aspects of the case. These factors usually lead to a better understanding or research into the subject matter. The primary importance is that the expert is relevant and has reliable testing processes throughout the entire case so that the other lawyer cannot successfully challenge the expert and succeed in removing him or her as a designated expert witness. If the lawyer does not fully understand the subject or field of study, he or she will need more information to hire the expert.
The Federal Rules of Expert Evidence
The expert must work within these Federal Rules of Expert Evidence. The professional has certain guidelines he or she must remain in adherence to when forming and presenting opinions. These rules demand that opinions given in the courtroom have a direct foundation from facts or results from tests used on the evidence. Inadmissible evidence and testimony are usually through hearsay issues and problems for the case. The expert must present his or her case within the confines of the rules no matter what field of study he or she received education or field experience in, and these apply in standard situations.
The expert may place his or her name in a database with other experts and advertise his or her credentials on these areas of the internet or within physical directories available around the state or country. Some experts are even willing to travel a certain or unlimited distance to provide expertise in a field of study and payment. Generally, these professionals are seeking to further their understanding of the subject matter, enter into the courts or help out in various crimes or claims to support either the defense or the other legal team. The more exposure through a database, the greater the chances are that the professional can support one side or the other.
The Expert Agency
There are several experts in dissimilar fields that will work through an agency or organization to provide services to lawyers. In many of these situations, the expert will either receive commission or payment through the agency or will use the agency to help reach lawyers better when searching for a relevant professional. To encourage a better rapport between the expert and the lawyer, interviews may occur at the agency as well as the signing of retention contracts for payment. The agent that will check for the expert may give the lawyer multiple possible professionals that can help with the court case.
The Search Engine
While an agency or database may provide the best fit for the legal team, experts are almost always available through a search engine. These professionals will list credentials and qualifications along with background information and what field of study they have the most experience in and what testing methods are best for these topics. However, there are several results possible with numerous professionals listed that are not relevant to the subject matter within the case. The lawyer will need to assess which ones are possible and then interview each. The expert hired will need to have a strong fit for both the lawyer and the client.
Finding and Working with the Expert Witness
Some experts will seek out cases and interview with a lawyer in a proactive manner. Either the professional discovers that the case exists or that the lawyer needs an expert in the field of study. Others are given the opportunity to work on the issue once found through an agency, database search or with search engine research. Once found, the expert will work on forming a stronger bond with the legal team to increase the efficiency of all interactions.
Working with the legal team, the expert witness will test the evidence and often create a report for the case. He or she will often remain available more than others to answer questions, explain the subject matter details and to go over the possible testimony.