By Steven Babitsky, Esq.
The 7 deadly sins, which can help ruin or destroy an expert witness’s career are:
• Experts do not intentionally fall prey to these sins but often succumb gradually on a slippery slope.
• Experts are well-advised to be vigilant about their actions/inactions to have a long and successful career.
Here are some examples of these deadly sins committed by expert witnesses:
An expert witness who was charging clients for 24 hours per day while traveling.
An expert witness who charged a client $5,000 and then dropped out of a case due to a conflict of interest.
An expert witness testifies she only “thumbed through” the records before forming her opinion.
An expert who deposited his retainer check but forgot to send in his report in a timely manner.
An expert witness who went on a tirade sending counsel a very nasty email.
An expert who sues a client for an outstanding bill of $500 after being paid $15,000.
An expert who let counsel write his entire report and signed it claiming in court it was his work.
An expert misstates repeatedly his forensic income.
An expert who had over 100 cases with one firm but who is not satisfied with his forensic income.
An expert witness who is inadvertently hired by both sides of a case giving each side a favorable opinion.
The 10 ways expert witnesses can avoid destroying their expert witness practice are:
1. Do not be seduced by the money.
2. Think long-term, not short-term in your actions.
3. Do not become overly dependent on one or two clients.
4. Avoid taking short cuts: do the work.
5. Avoid (when possible) fee disputes with counsel.
6. Do not bend the facts/science to help counsel “make the case.”
7. Be honest and thoughtful.
8. Pass up problematic cases.
9. Just because it is legal does not make it a good idea.
10. Avoid reports/opinions which you cannot defend.
About the Author
Steven Babitsky, Esq. is the President of SEAK Inc., The Expert Witness Training Company (www.testifyingtraining.com) and can be reached at email@example.com.