8 Signs of a Great Expert Witness

1.   You can explain complex concepts and your opinions in a way that a 10-year old can understand. Likewise, you are able to highlight which topics are outside your areas of expertise and avoid commenting on, rather than complicating matters to confuse others.

2.   You are often invited to speak at conferences and events in your industry, which shows that you have proven credibility and competency. Similarly, you are a member of different organisations to maintain a continuous learning and professional development career.

3. You are detailed oriented and meticulous with your records, including timesheets, documents received, workproducts, communications and others. You lead others in your group by example and produce reports that are impecable and difficult to challenge.

4. You know you can be challenged by any Court, and so need to be true and accurate so others can rely in your niche or specialised opinion. Experts should know their industries’ best practices, be familiar with scientific methods, and understand the rules of evidence in the jurisdictions they are working on.

5. You have the ability to stay calm in hostile legal environments, responding well to difficult cross examinations by opposing counsel and questioning by any Court member (written or verbal). You have a professional appearance and attitude that reflects your expertise and credibility in court.

6. You are professionally unbiased and independent, regardless of which side has retained your services. You understand you are paid for your time and not for your opinion, in order to assist the court. Similarly, you utilise a clear and well-drafted expert witness retention contract to avoid fee disputes at a later stage.

7. You respond promptly and reliably to your clients. Lawyers often have urgent, time-sensitive issues that must be addressed quickly and accurately by an expert.

8. You enjoy what you do, and you do it with high ethical and integrity standards.

NB: Open to discussion/debate with legal professionals.

Daniel A. Correa,

CEng, MIET, MIMechE, MPD, ACIArb

[email protected]