Saturday, September 30, 2006

Maybe There is Hope After All for Experts

For those of you who don't subscribe to our newsletter, I sent out a request this past week on behalf of an expert who had been designated as an expert in several cases (prompting the settlement of those cases) without permission. I have been astounded (and very appreciative!) by the hundreds of responses I have received.

This situation, what I call DWP (Designation Without Permission) by attorneys, is much more frequent than I had believed and terribly unfair! (I am compiling the responses this weekend and will be posting the compilation here and on our website as a free, downloadable document; I'll let you know as soon as it is available.)

While reading the various experiences of experts in this regard, I was approaching despair, but found a glimmer of hope in a clip from Pacific Business News.
The Hawaii Supreme Court has suspended a 39-year-old California lawyer for a year for placing a newspaper ad intended to discourage an expert witness from testifying in a case.
Darin P. Wright' s suspension took effect Sept. 18, according to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which investigates the rules governing lawyers in Hawaii.

While not much, at least someone somewhere is willing to do something about unethical treatment of experts by attorneys!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Servant or Guru?

Although written with law firms in mind, this blog post by Nathan Burke of Law Firm Blogging was enough to make me pause and look at the big picture in a new light. Agree or disagree with his premise, I love things that inspire me to think!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Judges for Hire?

This was new to me, but apparently hiring one's own judge is the latest attempt to get cheaper and quicker "justice".

In the May/June 2006 issue of AARP Magazine I found a blurb about this new practice (unfortunately, I haven't found a link for this particular article). Writer Laura Daily reports that while most popular with celebrities (Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston hired a judge to handle their divorce proceedings) the benefits are attracting ordinary folk as well, due in part to the savings in time and money:
Booking your own judge means your lawyer and expert witnesses aren't sitting running the meter while a jurist hears some other case, notes Kathleen Robertson, who practices family law in Los Altos, California. The rental can cost $350 to $475 an hour (a rate you split with your opponent), but because most cases are settled in days instead of weeks, "using a private judge can save 30 to 50 percent in time and fees," she says.

Other benefits include bypassing clogged court systems, the ability to pick a judge who specializes in that type of case, and, unlike arbitration, the decision can still be appealed.

Renting a judge is a practice already in use in California, Colorado and Ohio, with Texas and Florida soon to follow.