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Tips for Retaining an Expert Witness

March 5, 2013

Expert witnesses bring an important dynamic to the litigation process. In this post we will look at the various roles an expert can play throughout a case, how an attorney can work best with an expert, and how to go about finding an expert.


Experts can either be consulting, or testifying. Attorneys may want to hire one, or both of these types depending on the case.

  • Consulting: a consulting expert’s work on a case is not discoverable. Their role is to assist the attorney consider various angles of the case in respect to their area of expertise. Consulting experts consider economic or financial aspects of the case, fact development by recognizing which documents would be helpful to request, alert the attorney to factual issues, and prep the attorney by thinking of useful questions to ask in depositions.
  • Testifying: a testifying expert’s opinions will be used in the litigation, and considered by the “fact finders” such as jurors, judges, mediators or arbitrators. They can cover the same roles as a consulting expert, however their work is discoverable and can be brought up by both parties.

Some attorneys opt for hiring both consulting and testifying attorneys on a given case. The benefit of having both is that the experts can work together, or the consulting expert can prep both the attorney and testifying expert for trial.

Engaging An Expert:

Attorneys should engage their experts early on in the litigation process. Experts can help attorneys with fact discovery, and recognize potential arguments the attorney may face. Experts can then comment on early-stage questions, and valuate the worth of pursuing the case.

Attorneys can find expert in various ways. Usually, an attorney will go through a list of previously used experts, experts often retained by the firm, or through referrals from peers. For example, Courtroom Insight‘s law firm subscription allows attorneys to explore all mentioned avenues in one place.

Background Research:

Once an attorney narrows down what type of expert witness should be retained, the attorney must be sure to retain the right expert. Look for prior testimony, Daubert challenges, and verify credentials on the expert’s CV. Also, it may be helpful to check the expert’s blogs and articles to verify that he or she hasn’t written any contradictory statements (related to the case).

To search for expert witnesses today, log onto to find experts by location, specialty, and or for profiles with written reviews!

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