Expert witnesses can make or break a trial. Not only do they provide weight and authority to your case, but if they’re personable enough to make a good impression on the jury, they can also endear others to your cause. Here are just six tips for finding and selecting the right witness for your next trial.
1. Check Their Credentials
Did they really attend that law school? Have they really performed X number of heart transplants? Make sure you’re truly getting the expert you need for your case. If their qualifications don’t back up their claims, you’ll know to move on to the next witness.
2. Look Into Their Personal Background
Imagine putting your expert witness on the stand. Imagine them giving beautiful testimony that completely makes your case. Now imagine the opposing counsel pulling out a drunk driving charge they received three years ago. Do you really think the jury will care about their testimony after that?
3. Ask About Their Rates
Some witnesses charge by the hour. Others will ask for a flat fee per day or per trial. Before you sit them down and get their testimony, make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to billing. This will save you both unpleasantness down the line when it comes to your mutual payday.
4. Prioritize Experience
The ideal witness is one who’s been on the stand before. They know how the legal system works; they understand the role they need to play before a jury; they don’t get flustered under cross-examination. You don’t want a witness to cut their teeth on your case.
5. Find a Specialist
Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to ensure that your expert witness knows what they’re talking about. For example, you’ll want a tax specialist to talk about tax matters; a simple financial advisor might not have the background or the education required to convince the jury. Be sure you’re finding an actual expert and not just a layman.
These are just five things to keep in mind as you look for someone to provide expert witness testimony. As you can see, there’s a lot to consider, but if you’re serious about making a good choice, this is the criteria you’ll want to use. Anything less than complete diligence might just result in a witness who loses your case for you.