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6 Things to Consider When Selecting an Expert Witness

Expert witnesses come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be difficult to determine which is right for the job. If you’re having trouble selecting, vetting, prepping or even just finding the right expert, keep these six things in mind as you get ready for your day in court.

  1. Demeanor

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so be sure that your expert witness <i>looks</i> like an expert. They should be clean, polished and well-mannered in a way that suggests authority. If they have any tattoos or piercings, cover them at all times.

  1. Qualifications

When did they graduate? How long has it been since their last promotion? Do they have any degrees, licenses, certificates or industry memberships that would establish them as someone worth knowing? Do some digging on your witness before you put the fate of your trial in their hands.

  1. Availability

Your expert witness should be ready and willing to accommodate a flexible trial schedule. You never know when something will get extended or delayed, so your witness can’t be the type that’s only available on Tuesdays from 1PM to 3PM.

  1. Specialty

Try to find someone as specialized as possible. For example, if your case is about bank fraud, hire a bank expert witness and not just a finance expert witness. The former will bring a lot more information and experience to the table than the latter.

  1. Personal Background

This is where many people make a mistake with their expert witnesses; they’re so focused on vetting the person’s professional background that they forget all about their personal lives. If your expert witness has a shady past, there’s a good chance that your opposing counsel will bring it up in front of the jury.

  1. Compatibility

At the end of the day, one of the most important things about an expert witness is that they’re compatible with your existing legal team. You’ll be working closely with them until they give their testimony, so if you can’t stand to be in close quarters together, you’re going to have a problem.

If you’re looking for a good expert witness, use these tips to help you determine a viable candidate from a bust. While you can’t be sure of their efficacy until they take the stand, these guidelines will help you increase your odds of success.

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