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Selecting an Expert Witness

trustOccasionally, in the event a case requires litigation, legal counsel may request the assistance of one or more expert witnesses.  As specialists in their field, these experts can provide advanced knowledge, skill, experience, training and/or education that can assist with the case, including determining whether or not going to trial is necessary. An expert witness performs two primary functions: collecting, testing, and evaluating evidence, which can then be used to develop an educated opinion; and communicating that opinion and the information used to formulate it to the trier of fact.Depending on the specific case, one of two types of experts may be used.  The first, a consulting expert, is one who is employed in preparation of trial.  However, these individuals are not actually called to trial.  The second type is a testimonial expert. Unlike a consultant, a testimonial expert, as the name implies, does testify.There are two other key differences between consulting and testimonial experts.  Whereas the findings and opinions of a consulting expert are considered work product and are therefore protected by the attorney-client privilege, a testimonial expert’s work product is discoverable.  Additionally, the attorney-client privilege is waived with testimonial experts, but not consultants.Due to the esoteric language and conventions of the financial industry, expert witnesses are becoming increasingly necessary for both judge and jury trials, as well as arbitration hearings.  Finding someone who is intimately involved in the industry and who has the background and knowledge is crucial not only to be accepted by the court as an expert, but also to be able to explain how industry standards relate to the case in a coherent and persuasive manner.JLG offers expert witness services to the financial industry.  We can assist in not only seeking qualified experts but also serving in either a testimonial or consulting capacity.  Given the importance of this area, contact us to learn more at (619) 298-2880, or email [email protected].  Thank you.Author: David Sobel.  David Sobel serves as JLG’s FINRA specialist.  He has been in the industry for 35 years.  He has been a floor broker on the NYSE floor; a third market trader; and in NY, represented many of the independent brokers on the NYSE and AMEX for compliance and enforcement matters.  Since 1998, David has been a FINRA arbitrator and is a past Chair of FINRA’s Small Firm Advisory Board.  For more information, please visit /Professionals/.

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