Expert witnesses are a critical part of most important cases. The fees an expert witness charges will be one of the factors you consider when selecting an expert.
SEAK, Inc., The Expert Witness Training Company, regularly surveys expert witnesses regarding the fees they are charging. According to SEAK’s National Guide to Expert Witness Fees and Billing Procedures:
- 74% of expert witnesses require an up-front retainer. The median initial retainer fee for an expert witness is $2000.
- The median hourly fee for file review/preparation for all non-medical expert witnesses is $245.
- The median hourly fee for file review/preparation for all medical expert witnesses is $350 (43% higher than for non-medical experts).
- The median testimony hourly fee for medical expert witnesses is $500/hour.
- The median testimony hourly fee for non-medical expert witnesses is $275/hour.
- On average, expert witnesses who testify mostly for defendants command higher fees than expert witnesses who testify mostly for plaintiffs.
- Expert witnesses who testify mostly for plaintiffs are significantly more likely to require an up-front retainer from retaining counsel.
- Almost half (47%) of expert witnesses require a signed retention agreement prior to initiating work on a case.
- 53% of all expert witnesses have a cancellation policy whereby they retain all or a portion of a deposition or trial appearance fee for cancellations made within a certain specified time prior to the scheduled date.
- 33% of all expert witnesses charge a minimum number of hours for deposition testimony.
- 31% of all experts charge a minimum number of hours for trial testimony.
Download the latest Expert Witness Fee Data (free download)
Although expert witness fees can and should be a concern, counsel should be cautious to never be penny wise and pound foolish. In a big case, find the expert witness who will be the best value for your client. At the end of the day, your client will probably be best served by your retaining the most effective expert witness they can afford, not by looking for the cheapest expert witness you can find.