Working as a Consulting Expert Witness
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Expert witnesses that either do not make it through qualifying as a designated expert witness or that provide services outside of the expert witness field can assist the lawyer in understanding the subject materials or in finding an expert witness to give testimony in the courtroom. Other consultants work closely with the legal team for informational purposes.
Working with the LawyerConsultants working for the legal team can provide several benefits even if the professional does not testify in the courtroom. The individual can give the lawyer information about the subject material such as an explanation why certain things are important. He or she can calculate compensation based on the incident and injuries. The professional can also look over other expert materials to determine if they are legitimate or if inconsistencies exist. The consultant also often provides support in searching for a designated expert witness that will testify in the case.
The Consultant OpportunityThe consultant that works with the lawyer acquires compensation for his or her time. This consultant opportunity also gives much-needed experience with the courtroom processes and how the lawyers work through a case. Depending on a criminal or civil case, the consultant will begin to understand the procedures for each type of proceeding. He or she can learn so working as an expert witness in the future is less difficult. The professional can choose which engagements to take part in and which to pass by. If working with an agency, the company can ensure that the consultant keeps all monetary expenditures after the case concludes.
Considered for the EngagementThe process of working with a legal team provides the professional with both discretion and privacy when working with confidential materials. The lawyer may want to hire the individual because he or she has expertise in the subject material in the case or claim or to assist in hiring a designated expert witness for the case. When working through an agency or organization, the leader or another employee will contact the professional about his or her experience and credentials. Then, if these items appear to match what the lawyer is looking for, the professional will progress through an interview process.
Working as a ConsultantThe professional will need materials that are complete, accurate and up-to-date to work on a case or claim. He or she will need to pass the initial and possibly subsequent interviews with the legal team. As a consultant, this person will work hand-in-hand with other legal professionals about something specific involving the case. Consultant work may require long hours analyzing testing methods, results or the error rate of another expert. The consultant may need to assess the other legal team’s expert to determine if he or she has any inconsistencies in testimony or a report.
Working through EvidenceWhen a consultant works through evidence to either help prove or disprove something, he or she will need to adhere to the same rules for other investigations. This also requires following the same procedures with error rates, proven testing methods and using processes that will ensure reliable results. The testimony in the courtroom demands both reliability and relevance to the subject matter. However, as a consultant, the professional usually need only worry about keeping results and testing practices consistent. This helps the lawyer and legal team further understand and present the necessary findings. Some consultants may review a report by an expert witness for inconsistencies and inaccurate data.
The Retainer AgreementWhile expert witnesses will need a solid retainer agreement for all services, the consultant should also have this document to ensure payment for all services performed for the lawyer and legal team as well. If working through an agency, the company or organization usually sets this up first. However, if alone, the consulting professional should work through all provisions that will exist for services rendered for the case. A detailed contractual agreement should contain most or all services that the consultant will perform, what compensation he or she will receive for additional expenses and when payment will disperse. Any conditions that require editing may occur later.
Working for the Legal TeamOnce the consultant has all necessary steps in place, he or she may start rendering services for the legal team. These cases often require constant communication, and the consultant will need to know the best mode to do so for the legal team. Transporting legal documents, traveling and room and board are other aspects of working with these legal teams for a claim or case.
Provided by HG.org
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.