What Do Lawyers Consider When Hunting for Professionals?
Knowing what Lawyers think and consider can guide your efforts at getting them to notice you. Some things are more obvious than others. For example, if an attorney has a high profile murder case or a $100 million civil liability case, he probably wants an expert with an established reputation, testimonial background, impeccable credentials, a great number of years in the specialty, and quite possibly a PhD. Because litigation qualifications is such a big priority, attorneys ask other attorneys for recommended expert witnesses.
Some of the subtler factors made by Lawyers will be reflected in the choice between an academic and a hands-on expert. For example, in a civil suit involving the failure of a blood infusion pump in a hospital’s coronary care unit, a hands-on engineer who regularly repairs such devices at the hospital may be more valuable to the case than a PhD in biomedical engineering who designs them. The repair engineer can speak to failure rates, fees of service, and the hands-on issues involved in a hospital. An academically trained bioengineering device designer might be less useful to the particular case because his or her experience is in fees of flow in the pump, not failure fees.
What does this mean for you? If you have hands on industry qualifications, your marketing strategy should emphasize the benefit you can bring to cases that rely on applied expertise and expertise. If you have substantial academic qualifications, emphasize your book-experience and teaching skills for cases relying on theory or design.
Lawyers prefer experts who are resistant to Daubert challenges. Based on the Supreme Court ruling in the Daubert case, this could be you if:
* You or the methodologies used in your work have been published in peer reviewed publications.
* Your peers accept your methodologies.
* You are meticulous in your approach to ascertaining and considering a wide range of possibilities.
* Your approach to data analysis is extremely thorough; this will satisfy the lawyer who realizes that courts look toward both qualitative and quantitative adequacy of facts in expert investigations.
I’ll expand further on Daubert fundamentals and requirements in later lessons on expert reports, depositions, and trial testimony. Your appreciation of Daubert principles and your ability to apply them will help attorneys decide that you are the expert for them.
Beyond all the technical and professional expertise you may have, you must also be personable. Over the course of a case, your retaining attorney will spend time with you on the telephone, meeting with you in conferences, working with you on affidavits or declarations or reports, and on preparing you for testimony. If you are a bore, and the attorney can’t enjoy a meal with you, he will likely engage another, more personable expert. So put your best foot forward when you do meet attorneys for possible expert witness work.
Attorneys interpret sociability and likability at your initial meeting as a big plus for a hiring decision. As a initial consideration, an attorney thinks about the impression you may have on jurors.