How to Become an Expert Witness
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Are you an expert in your field? Expert witness work might be ideal for you, but where should you begin? What are attorneys looking for? How can you find these opportunities? What is the best way to stand out as an expert witness candidate?
GLG is the world’s largest expert witness network, with years of experience connecting attorneys to the right expert witnesses for their cases. Because we are “experts in finding experts,” we can help you avoid the common hurdles that you might face when seeking expert witness work.
What are those hurdles? Often an expert lacks trial experience. Sometimes, it’s simply that experts have a hard time finding opportunities that match their skillset. Luckily, there are ways to overcome these obstacles. We’ve gathered our top tips for strategically pursuing these opportunities and ultimately making yourself an attractive candidate for winning expert witness work.
Update Your LinkedIn
When an attorney is seeking a candidate with particular attributes (e.g., educational background, certifications, or specific geographic experience), LinkedIn is an invaluable tool. To look like an ideal candidate, your LinkedIn profile should reflect your most up-to-date professional information. Add specific job titles, skills, certifications, applications (e.g., Microsoft Office Suite), and key words to your profile so your name appears in searches. The issues experts opine on in litigation can be very niche, so the more detailed the information on your profile, the easier it will be for an attorney to find you for an opportunity.
Be a Leader in Your Field
We recently hosted a panel called “Becoming a Successful Expert Witness.” Jim McGovern, a panelist, expert witness veteran, and one of GLG’s approximately 1 million expert Network Members, pointed out the importance of being a thought leader in your field. Alongside a strong internet presence, becoming a reputable name in your field not only increases the likelihood of outreach from law firms but also further supports your credibility in your field (and on the stand!). We recommend working to get published in peer-reviewed journals, writing articles, participating in conferences, speaking at lectures, and sharing your knowledge any way you can to reach a wider audience. That said, be thoughtful about what you publish. Experts can leave themselves vulnerable to cross-examination if they publish opinion pieces that contradict the testimony they give in deposition or at trial.
Network, Network, Network!
Getting to know attorneys is certainly the most direct way to learn more about expert witness work and opportunities that could be a fit for your expertise. Equally important is networking with colleagues, specifically those already doing expert witness work. In our expert witness panel, GLG Network Member Fil Waters shared an instance when he was retained for a case and needed to consult with another expert knowledgeable on a specific aspect of the topic at hand, resulting in the law firm hiring his colleague as an additional expert witness.
Work with Organizations That Will Connect You to Attorneys
If expert witness work is something you want to pursue, collaborating with an organization like GLG can help you get your foot in the door. These types of companies, which have strong attorney relationships, can help connect you with attorneys and specific cases that match your expertise, providing a more targeted experience.
While extensive experience is vital, don’t discount the importance of personal presentation. If you are approached about an opportunity, speaking with attorneys will be the first step in ensuring this opportunity is the right fit. You’ll need to have a strong grasp on the case’s topic and be able to present your knowledge in a personable and concise manner.
Ensure a Mutual Fit
An expert witness opportunity should be a mutual fit for you and the attorneys. To ensure that fit, there are some questions you should ask in your screening calls. By asking targeted questions up front and maintaining strong lines of communication, you can set your opportunity up for success. Sometimes investment on the front end will lead to bigger returns in the long run.
It’s not easy to answer the question of how to win more expert work. The above tips will help you become a more visible (and attractive) candidate, but they are just the first steps toward finding and securing more expert witness opportunities. There will always be elements that are out of your control. Personality fit, case timeline, geographic location, etc. are factors that may bar you from working on a case. But the more you market yourself, the more likely you are to get work.
GLG is here to help. We are happy to provide you with support, boost your visibility, and connect you with our clients based on their needs and your expertise.
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