Sometimes court cases include a lot of complicated data and evidence that requires an expert to understand its meaning and explain it to the rest of the courtroom. If you are an attorney who thinks your case could benefit from an expert witness, avoiding these mistakes will help you choose the right one for your situation.
1. Skipping the Resume
When you ask for a resume from potential witnesses, verify the information on it. Make sure your witness has the degrees and experiences he claims, and verify any licenses or certifications are up to date. If you put someone on the stand at a trial, the other side is sure to be diligent in verifying his information. A witness with a fake resume makes you look unprofessional and is sure to cost your case.
2. Hiring an Academic Professional
Colleges and universities look good on the resume of an expert witness finance, but only if used right. If someone went to school to learn accounting or earn another degree relying heavily on finance, that’s great. What did your witness do after that, though? People on both sides of the courtroom agree that a witness who actively works in the field each day is preferable to a jury than one who simply spent a lot of time in school. The head of a finance company has likely seen a lot more out-of-the-norm financial situations than a finance professor who only teaches from the book.
3. Choosing a Witness Without an Interview
The right credentials and perfect amount of experience won’t be helpful if your expert witness doesn’t do well on the stand. Have you ever had stage fright at a talent show and clammed up or otherwise messed up your speaking parts? Imagine if one of your witnesses did that on the stand. If the person you hire doesn’t have a history of helping to win cases already, ensure you do an in-person interview with him and practice what will happen in the courtroom.
Remember, the best expert witness isn’t always the most expensive, nor is it the person who charges the least. Interview several people and verify their credentials before choosing the one who will best help your case.