Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Role of Experts in Our Legal System

The following quotes are thoughtful comments on the role of experts in our legal system:

"Trial lawyers may be the peacocks of the courtroom, strutting before a judge or jury & making arguments with a sense of drama and style, but often these days it's a tweedy professor, explaining some impossibly arcane subject in plain English, who may make the difference."
- Jonathan Glater, "More & More, Expert Witnesses Make the Difference,"
NY Times, August 19, 2005

"No one will deny that the law should in some way effectively use expert knowledge wherever it will aid in settling disputes. The only question is as to how it can do so best."
- Judge Learned Hand

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Expert Issues in the News

Many states and associations are discussing or instituting legislation and rules pertaining to expert witnesses and consultants to the legal industry. Some of these issues will be decided or will take effect in the coming months. Here are two links about recent expert issues:

American Academy of Neurology elaborates expert witness guidelines

Pretrial Assessments of Expert Witnesses

Law firms hack into expert witness' website

Are Jurors Tuning Out Expert Witnesses?

Additionally, I would recommend that you use the slow time this holiday season to check in with the professional associations you belong to and get up to date on any pending state legislation or organization rules that may affect you or your practice.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Advertising by Experts & Getting Paid

As business slows down at this time of the year, I have been taking care of end-of-the-year housekeeping. In reviewing inquiries and conversations with clients in 2005, I discovered two dominant themes. The two most frequently asked questions were, "How do I make sure I get paid?" and "What are the most effective places to list or advertise - where do attorneys look for experts?"

The answer to the first question is addressed in Rosalie's book and was also discussed in great detail and commented upon by many of our readers at the beginning of the year, which was so popular we compiled the debate and comments so that others could read it as well. Because it is still such a topic of concern, however, I am looking into other resources to suggest for the coming year.

The second question is one that is so specific to the individual expert that it would be impossible, impractical and ineffective to attempt to give a blanket answer. The expert's field of expertise, types of cases and attorneys one works with, geographic area and scope - these and many other factors must be evaluated. The conclusions of this analysis must then be applied to extensive knowledge of the various print and online directories, referral services, publications and so forth to determine the appropriate and most effective choices for that particular expert. I haven't yet come up with a way to answer this one without the advice becoming so general as to be meaningless.

Enough analyzing for one day - I smell cream cheese cookies : )

Friday, December 09, 2005

What exactly do you DO?

I received an email from a reader of our newsletter this week that said, "Guys: I love your emails . . . they are great, but who are you and what is your business???"

I guess it's a case of "the cobbler's children have no shoes." We are warriors when it comes to helping our clients clearly and consistently state their expertise and services verbally and in all of their printed materials, listings, advertising and on their website. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

Now, if Rosalie and I can just find time to listen to our own advice. :-)