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Avoiding Conflict Problems with Expert Witnesses

The relationship between lawyer and expert witness relies upon the work they accomplish which requires a lack of conflict and a better understanding of the subject matter. There are ways of avoiding arguments that can help assist both parties in seeking stronger bonds and working together on the case accordingly.

Conflict of Interest

Conflict problems arise with expert witnesses when they have relationships with the other legal party either through past cases or claims or when the expert worked recently for the other lawyer. It is important to avoid these conflicts of interest to prevent disqualification in the courtroom. One way that this is possible is if the expert has no work on the current case, no express details on the current way the legal team would work based on the information or by not sharing details with the other legal counsel. It is also important to remain honest and explain the past relationship.

Conflicting Relationships

Some experts and lawyers have conflict problems because of the wrong fit or when these two cannot work easily together. This rocky relationship can also cause conflict problems and lead to disqualification or a weaker
overall legal argument and case if expert and lawyer cannot work out these issues. Communication and understanding are key aspects of any association and working relationship. By explaining what the subject matter means and how it relates, the expert can increase the knowledge and comprehension of the expert, and if the lawyer does the same with the legal concepts, these two can overcome such

Warming Up

There are ways that the lawyer, client and expert witness can create a stronger bond by warming up before the trail or claim. This may require each party to run through questions and answer sessions or by examining evidence and reports together. Warming up before setting out for the courtroom is a building exercise that can increase the strength of the relationship and help to avoid conflict problems that can arise either initially or later. Without understanding how testimony will present through the warming up phase, the expert witness could face a challenge or qualification.

Creating a Better Relationship through Knowledge

Another way to avoid conflicts that may cause a problem is through the lawyer and expert learning about the specifics with the evidence and subject matter together. However, if the professional has more knowledge about the details, he or she can also inform the lawyer about the information that can increase the bond they form and share. Creating a better relationship in this manner can show the courtroom that the lawyer and expert do know the material. This type of bond can also increase the chances of success overall so the client can achieve victory in the courtroom.

Integrity and Confidentiality

One of the primary reasons conflict can arise between the expert witness and other professional is because the expert lacks the integrity to remain on the case. This could lead to disqualification such as through a challenge. Certain professionals only want to acquire more money or experience without ensuring the integrity of the case remains. This can lead to problems later with the lawyer, client and even other professionals that have some involvement with the courtroom proceedings. If there are issues with testimony, evidence processes and reliability of testing procedures, this can cause the case to fail.

Working out Objections and Challenges

It is possible to help avoid conflict in many different areas with an expert witness when the professional can work out how to prevent or bypass objections and challenges for testing methods or testimony. The expert needs to provide certain information throughout the case to include a report for some proceedings. Objections can arise for a number of reasons that can lead to disqualification. By having a stronger relationship with the lawyer and working out together how to get through the objection,
the team can keep the expert in the case.

If there are any challenges to the reliability of testing method results or the relevance of the knowledge and expertise of the expert witness, the lawyer and professional can work out a strategy to get through the situation and help avoid any additional conflict this can bring. The challenge may arise because the subject matter is not the primary field of the expert, but when explaining the educational or training background, the legal team can increase trust in relevance in the courtroom. This can also help the two professionals work out and through conflict.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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