Sometimes in litigation you need an expert to formulate an opinion about matters outside the knowledge base of a typical person. For example, in a recent trial we did, we retained the services of an expert witness to opine about the reasonable rental value of a house over a 30+ year time frame.
Here are some tips for hiring an expert witness:
1. Be creative. Not all experts are created equally. Think about whether your case requires testimony from a person who spends most of their time doing expert work, or whether your case may be better served by hiring a fresh face who may have less experience testifying in court but may have extensive practical experience in the field.
2. Identify the number of experts you need. Sometimes you need more than one expert. You may need an expert on liability and damages for example.
3. Negotiate Fees Up Front. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the amount the expert will be charging by the hour or whether there will be a flat fee.
4. Think About Cross-Examination. When you hire an expert you want to make sure that they do not have any skeletons in the closet that will come out during the case and cross-examination. We think it makes sense to explore the expert’s litigation history, whether they have any fraud judgments against them, or whether they have any criminal background. It is better to ask this questions up front than have an unpleasant surprise after the expert is designated.
5. What Did The Expert Not Do. It is important to think about the scope of the assignment you are going to have for the expert. Are you going to have the real estate expert come to the property? If not, is that going to be a subject matter for cross-examination that will impair the expert’s opinion. A very popular topic of cross-examination is what the expert did not do, which means it is a good idea to think about what you are ok with the expert not having done versus what the expert should actually do.
Schorr Law’s lead attorney offer’s expert witness services in a wide variety of real estate related matters. To schedule a consultation, contact us today at (310) 954-1877 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send us a text at (323) 487-7533 or send us a message by using our contact form.