An expert witness is an individual that is retained by a lawyer to provide technical testimony on behalf of a client. An expert witness may be used in a criminal or civil trial. Sometimes expert witnesses are used during mediation as I was about 10 years ago.
Becoming an Expert Witness
The process of becoming an expert witness is part chance and part work. The work part is pretty simple to grasp but difficult to accomplish. Study and learn your field better than most. This can include academic degrees, but academic work isn’t necessary for all fields. Experience matters as well as being recognized as a leader in your field by peers. Publications can help raise your profile but again, publications are not a requirement. The chance part is that there needs to be a lawsuit involving your area of expertise and an attorney must find and select you. Several websites are dedicated to listing expert witnesses. Getting listed on them, can’t hurt your chances of being found.
Being Selected as an Expert Witness
Once an attorney thinks you can help his/her client, you will be contacted. The attorney or her aide will briefly describe the case, inquire about your credentials and experience, and gauge your point of view. Ultimately, the attorney has to determine if you can speak confidently concerning the situation from a point of view that will help his client win the case. If your bias is in favor of low or non-toxic pesticides, it is unlikely that a lawyer defending a chemical company will hire you. Keep in mind, that the attorney’s opinion is just the first step. The final decision as to whether you meet expert standards will be determined by the judge or mediator.
Even if you are an expert in your field, being an expert witness is not for everyone. But more on that in the next blog.Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACE, is the owner of Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. He helps people restore their balance with nature through publishing, training, consulting, and the internet. He has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel) along with several books (https://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com/store-2/). Listen to his podcast at PestGeek Podcast (https://pestgeekpodcast.com/). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. If you would like to have Stephen speak at your event or use his consultation services, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.