By Steven Babitsky, Esq. & James J. Mangraviti Jr., Esq.
Many professionals are starting to look into the lucrative and growing field of serving as an expert witness. Depending on their field of expertise, expert witnesses earn $150 to $500 or more per hour. The work is intellectually challenging, has a very low overhead, and can, for the most part, be done out of a home office.
FREE Whitepaper: How to Get Hired as an Expert Witness
DO YOU QUALIFY TO SERVE AS AN EXPERT WITNESS?
The role of the expert is to use scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge to assist the trier of fact (jury) to understand the evidence and determine a fact in issue.
Experts are permitted to testify (qualified) if they have either:
As the requirements are in the alternative (or) the expert need only have one or more of the 5 requirements to be found qualified by the judge to testify as an expert witness.
If you have specialized training, education, knowledge, skill or experience in a field you may be qualified to testify as an expert witness.
WHAT DO CLIENTS LOOK FOR IN SELECTING AN EXPERT WITNESS?
Attorneys hire expert witnesses to help them better understand, present, and win their cases. Characteristics that attorneys look for when selecting and hiring an expert witness include:
• Ability to assist counsel
• Being easy to deal with
• Oral communication skills
• Report writing skills
• Testifying skills
• Work Ethic
If you have the above qualifications and have or are willing to acquire these skills, you are well positioned to start to develop an expert witness practice.
WHAT DO EXPERT WITNESSES DO?
Expert witnesses are generally asked to review facts and documents, conduct research, form opinions & express these opinions in a written report. They may later be asked to testify at a deposition or at trial if the case does not settle. Over 95% of cases settle prior to trial.
HOW SHOULD I GET STARTED?
You will want to familiarize yourself with the legal procedures, requirements and best practices for experts before offering your services to attorneys. You will want to have an understanding of your rights and obligations as an expert before opening your practice. Practical considerations such as your curriculum vitae (resume), stationery, web site, how much to charge, how to get paid, a standard contract of employment and what you are required to do by law should be mastered before starting your practice. As you start your practice you will want to learn the correct way to phrase your opinions and write your reports so that they are legally sufficient. This skill set should be learned and mastered so that you can avoid any career ending mistakes and give yourself the best chance to succeed.
Click here to purchase the SEAK text; The A-Z Guide to Expert Witnessing
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Steve Babitsky, Esq. and James J. Mangraviti Jr., Esq. are principals in SEAK, Inc. – an expert witness education and training company. See www.testifyingtraining.com. They are the authors of The A-Z Guide to Expert Witnessing as well as numerous other books for expert witnesses. Steve Babitsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org & James J. Mangraviti Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.