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Paralegal 101: How to Find and Retain an Expert Witness

an expert witness checking on blood samples in a labCourts use testimonies from an expert witness in a wide array of cases. These experts are usually scientists, doctors, and industry insiders who could make or break a case. As a paralegal, it’s your job to find the right expert witness for a case and coordinate with them. You could make the entire process simpler and more efficient for everyone involved with the following guidelines.

Finding an Expert Witness

First, you could ask for recommendations from people in your firm, bar associations, and paralegal groups. You could likewise search online and scour paralegal forums. If you want more options, you could also use an expert search company.

After narrowing down your search and shortlisting around three to six prospective witnesses, make copies of their CVs and hand them out to the litigation team involved in the case. If a prospective witness’s CV or resume doesn’t expound on a case testimony they previously testified to, request more information. Once your team has chosen an expert witness, don’t forget to run a conflict check to avoid issues later on.

Negotiating Expert Fees

Fees could differ significantly depending on experience, field of expertise, records needed for the case, and the specific types of testimony your team requires, explains a top instructor of The Center For Legal Studies, which offers online paralegal programs. When asking about fees, make sure to ask about the hourly rate, including hours spent researching, preparing, and reviewing records, as well as travel and accommodation needs. Make sure to pay close attention to the terms of the contract, specifically due dates and prepayments.

Obtaining Consent from the Client

To formally retain the chosen expert witness, you need to get client approval. Arrange a conference call or meeting with the team’s lead lawyer and the client to discuss everything about the witness. Remember your main goal — to gain the client’s consent.

Your efforts to find and retain an expert witness could be very critical to the results of the case and throughout the mediation, deposition, and trial. To that end, you need to establish a great working relationship with the expert witness and be ready to provide assistance should they need it.