Is There Special Training to Become an Expert Witness?
If you’re interested in becoming an expert witness, you might be wondering if there is any special training to become one. After all, the Federal Rules of Evidence describe an expert witness as “any person who has special knowledge, skill, experience, training or education which he or she may use to assist in a legal proceeding.”
There is no set requirement to become an expert witness, but some professional and membership bodies advise practitioners to embark on formal training. A two- or three-day course, or a series, will teach you how to best approach your role and give evidence in the courtroom.
A good expert witness can explain complicated topics in an easy-to-understand manner. They must also be able to clearly convey their findings to jurors or judges.
Whether you’re an experienced lawyer or an amateur, a well-prepared expert witness can make a difference in your case. You can find a list of expert witnesses by searching online or through an organization such as GLG, which connects lawyers with qualified professionals.
How to Become an Expert Witness
Getting an expert witness position begins with identifying the area of expertise you want to specialize in. Depending on your field, this could include anything from medical science to engineering or landscaping. Once you’ve decided on your specialty, you’ll need to create a professional portfolio of your past experiences, accomplishments and credentials.
Then, you’ll need to identify attorneys that are looking for an expert witness in your field. This is a process that requires some networking and word of mouth. Start by contacting your lawyer friends, and ask them if they know anyone who might be interested in using you as an expert witness.
You can also reach out to an expert witness recruiting service, which will help you identify potential clients and get started in the industry. These organizations usually keep a running list of expert witnesses, and they can often help you gain access to attorney contacts and opportunities that match your skills and background.
How Much Can You Charge?
In some cases, an expert witness’s fee can be quite high. This is particularly true of forensic specialists, for example.
However, it is important to note that the fee will vary widely based on the specific issues involved in a case. For example, a doctor’s fees might be more expensive than an engineer’s.
How to Become an Expert
A good expert witness will be able to communicate their expertise effectively in both verbal and written form. They must be able to explain their field of study in an easy-to-understand way and should not use jargon or acronyms.
Communication is especially important when cross-examination occurs, which is typically the most difficult part of being an expert witness. The opposing counsel will try to stymie and taint your credibility with untruthful claims, and they can be difficult to overcome.
The key to success as an expert witness is to understand your area of expertise, present your knowledge eloquently and be able to answer questions from the courtroom’s seasoned attorneys. You will also need to be able to work in a flexible schedule, which might necessitate working nights and weekends.