narrow the search.
A short word on expert referral
services is in order. Although many
claims professionals regard them with
disdain because of the perception that
they are plaintiff-oriented, the use of
such services should not be ruled out.
Especially in cases involving an obscure
field, they can save an inordinate amount
of time in helping narrow the search for
an expert. They do come at a literal cost,
however, as such services are not free.
Having located a putative expert, claims
professionals now must start the vetting
process. This begins with obtaining a
copy of the expert’s curriculum vitae.
The CV should be reviewed with an
eye toward information such as the
university attended, the type of degree(s)
received, and membership in appropriate
professional associations. If an expert
with real world experience is needed or
desired, the jobs that the expert has held
are obviously important. It does no one
any good to retain an expert with an
engineering degree if he has spent most
of his career in sales. Where the expert
has worked can be equally important.
Was the expert an employee of your
client’s direct competitor? Or did he work
for your client at one time? If so, you may
need to direct your search elsewhere.
The publications listed on the expert’s
CV should also be noted. Has the expert
published on the specific subject matter
at hand? Having published on the
subject may be a blessing or a curse. If
there is a long list of publications that
lend support to the defense proposition
being advanced, this will lend credence
to his testimony. However, papers taking
a contrary position, even in part, are
problematic. Picture how the cross-
examination of such an expert will go
when his written words are blown up and
displayed to the jury. While there is often
a perfectly justifiable reason for such a
position (usually different facts), having
to explain it to a jury is often awkward.
Once claims professionals have
reviewed the CV, give the expert a
call. During this initial call, claims
professionals should explain to the
potential expert what kind of expert they
are looking for and ask if the witness
would be comfortable testifying or
opining on that subject matter. If they
are, claims professionals should tell the
expert who the parties to the litigation
are so that a conflict check can be done.
Such a conflict check might be necessary
not only for the individual expert, but
also within the organization or entity for
whom the expert works.
Potential experts should be asked
about their previous experience as an
expert, if any. How many times have they
been retained? Were they a testifying
expert or consulting? What was the split
between plaintiff and defense cases?
How many times have they testified at
deposition? How many times at trial? If
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