How to Verify the Background of Your Expert Witness

Legal Compliance Resource
April 30, 2013 — 1,794 views  

Expert witnesses hold a lot of value in any case. Locating the right witness who can help you nail down some crucial point of your case should be an important consideration while attempting to reinforce your defense or argument in the court.

Steps for Finding Good Witnesses

To find a credible expert witness, you can follow the steps given below:

  • You can research about similar cases that were tried in similar level courts as the court handling your current case. Sort through the records to find expert witnesses that have been called before.
  • Ask your local association of trial lawyers if there's a list of expert witnesses.
  • Ask your state bar association if there are regulations regarding expert witnesses' qualifications, and do so especially when practicing medical malpractice laws.
  • Go online to browse through the many expert witnesses' databases available on the Internet.
  • Follow trade publications aimed at the industry that you're trying to search an expert witness in. These publications contain advertisements for consultation or expert services, which locate experts on paying a fee. Scholarly journals can also be used for this purpose.
  • The academic departments of local colleges that focus on the study field that you want to find an expert in are also a good place to look for expert witnesses.

Verifying the expert witness' credentials

There are many tools available for verifying an expert witness' credentials. You can use the Web, or go through public records or deposition banks, although the major services are expensive, and may leave some corners unchecked. The Web can be a good tool in these cases, although it's not foolproof. The following options can be used to perform a background check of an expert witness:

  • Blogs: The blogosphere is a good place to start researching the expert's credentials. You can use Google's Blog Search feature to search relevant blogs. Another option would be to use Clusty, which provides usefully organized and comprehensive results.
  • Networking Sites: With the advent of sites such as LinkedIn, the whole professional networking scenario has changed and become more dynamic. You can also check the expert's personal profiles on social networking sites like Facebook.
  • Corporate Records: For researching experts in the publicly traded companies' field, you can sort through the EDGAR database of the US Securities & Exchange Commission. In case of the securities industry, there is a wealth of information on NASD BrokerCheck and the Background Affiliation Status Information Center (BASIC).
  • Public Records: You can get access to public records through major research systems such as LexisNexis, Accurint, or ChoicePoint.
  • Professional Credentials: Most states have come up with sites that verify the bar admission of a lawyer. For checking the license of a medical doctor, you can use DocFinder site.
  • Expert Witness Rulings: You can use the website, Dauber Tracker, which helps in tracking cases that involve an expert testimony's admissibility, and specifically, finding out the performance of experts in courts.

Finding an expert and performing a background check on him/her can contribute positively to your case. So, it is essential to conduct this check.

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