Expert Witness Vetting: 5 Important Steps

Expert Witness Vetting: 5 Important Steps

Vetting an expert witness. So critical to a successful expert witness engagement. But what does vetting an expert witness really entail?

Is it enough to get a referral from the guy down the hall and take his word for it?

Is it enough to background check an expert using an online consumer-oriented service (please don’t waste your money on this!)?

Do you trust “your gut” after a phone call with an expert witness candidate?

The truth is there is not one standardized method for vetting an expert witness. Attorneys may have their own methods or none at all.

When I was in the expert witness matching business, I determined there were dozens of data points that needed to be addressed before an expert witness was referred to a client.

Just a few key areas to explore:

**Check state licensing boards (example: medical licensing board) for discipline;

**Google search the expert and look for discipline or criminal charges (you would be surprised at how many “experts” have news stories written about their unsavory exploits);

**Legal database search for adverse rulings challenging/barring expert witness testimony for failing to meet required legal standards;

**Trial lawyer list serve search to get the “inside scoop” from colleagues re an expert candidate;

**Review expert witness digital presence such as their website, advertisements and publications for conflicts of interest and “hired gun” persona.