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Potential Problems with Expert Witness Training and Certification Programs

Expert witnesses may need certification and additional training to keep up with the wants and needs of lawyers that hire these professionals for various cases. However, what is considered qualified to one lawyer does not necessarily follow to the next, and this could lead to problems with what types of certification is needed and which training should be pursued.

Keeping up with the changes in technology and knowledge is difficult even for those that are constantly attending classes or training programs. The certifications that may be wanted are not necessarily easy to acquire or achieve based on various factors. Additionally, some experts are not reimbursed or see compensation of any kind for these measures taken to entice lawyers to utilize them in the courtroom. Because of these issues, a few professionals are hard pressed to keep certification and training skills and knowledge as up to date as others. This may reduce the number of lawyers that seek their expertise out for a claim.

The specialization that an expert has may determine how much and how extensive his or her training and certification is when current and what is needed to remain current. If this is medical or computer related, additional classes
and training are needed as the field grows and new knowledge is needed over the years. However, if it is a static field such as history that does not change, the expert may not need as much of these programs as others. Real world experience may become more essential to the specialty than academic progress. Practical and situational expertise is often found to be the better choice for certain fields than remaining in class rooms memorizing facts.

The Nonstandard Expert

Some experts in the age of the computer are not standard and pressed into the same needs as other experts. When the expert is not part of the scientific community or has no connection to the usual professions, he or she may not have any certification or training programs to take part in to learn new data. In these instances, there are several problems with increasing knowledge. However, practical experience is still possible, and the expert may progress in his or her profession through field work and becoming part of real life situations. These persons are able to expand their specialty through other means than a training program or class.

Training in Courtroom Situations

Some experts are not as versed in speaking to a courtroom or presenting evidence that promotes confidence. These professionals may have social awkwardness that causes the judge or jury to lack faith in his or her abilities and knowledge. There are training courses in how to speak to others, increase eloquence with speech and social awareness. While these skills are difficult to master for some, many experts may find these classes and programs beneficial and see results as quickly as the next case. It is possible to create stronger relationships with lawyers through adding these programs to their repertoire.

While some may view training in how to handle courtroom interactions as beneath them, it is better to understand how a jury or judge may react to certain actions than having no knowledge of these circumstances. Knowing what to say, how to say it and when to detail specific items is crucial in keeping the judge and jury confident in the abilities of the expert witness. These nonstandard training classes may only exist in larger cities, and not everyone would qualify for such education. However, some professionals may be compensated for traveling to these courses and learning all they are able to.

The Expert and the Training or Certification

Some experts are required to keep certain fields and knowledge updated, but there are no legal standards for these programs. Some of the problems with these classes and certifications is that without any guidelines to follow, the experts may be doing so to entice lawyers only. Additionally, the law does not recognize certificates. The expert must be able to stand on his or her own credentials without these programs, classes and sessions to retain admissible testimony. It is important not to rely on certifications to be considered an expert.

Sometimes the institutions that award certifications or have these classes are not accredited or acknowledge by the scientific community. While the knowledge and acquired skills are beneficial, the certification and record may be meaningless. The expert may need to research these concerns before attending or spending money on classes or training sessions.

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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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