The perfect expert is preeminently qualified, is a leader in his field, has no skeletons in his closet and makes a great witness at trial. Finding him takes time and effort. To track him down, I would suggest the following:
Enlist your firm. Start your search by asking for recommendations from the attorneys in your firm.
Enlist your friends. Form an e-mail list of colleagues with whom you have gone to school with, worked with, served on bar associations with, etc. This list will serve you in many ways, including requests for experts.
Enlist bar associations. Many bar associations have expert databases. Some allow you to e-mail members, asking for expert recommendations.
Use Westlaw. Do a jury verdict search for the category of experts you are looking for. Not only will you find several prospects, you will see the types of verdicts with which they were associated.
Use the internet. Google the type of expert you are looking for and see what names come up.
Visit Barnes & Nobles. Visit Barnes & Nobles website, type in the subject matter for which you need an expert, and see who has written text books on the topic. For example, the expert you need to evaluate a party’s closed head injury may have written three text books on the topic, and is considered the foremost expert in the field.
Enlist experts. When you call prospective experts, ask them whom they consider to be leaders in their field. Whom do they consider authoritative? Whom would they call if they had a question?
Do your due diligence. Once you have several prospects, you need to make sure the expert fits the bill. Make sure to:
1) Review his curriculum vitae.
2) Review relevant publications cited in the curriculum vitae.
3) Read at least one of his prior depositions.
4) Review prior reports he has prepared.
5) Check Westlaw to see if his opinion has ever been stricken.
6) Do an article search.
7) Do a background search.
8) Ask for references of others who have retained him. Ask the references how the expert performed and whether they discovered any skeletons in his closet.
9) Ask the expert the hard questions (Has he ever been convicted? Has he ever had his opinion stricken? Has his license ever been revoked or restricted? Has any board or association ever reprimanded him? Are his credentials legitimate?)
10) Do a Google search to see if the expert has ever been written about in chat rooms, message boards or elsewhere.
The right expert can make the difference between winning a case and losing it. The same can be said about the wrong expert. Take your time and do your diligence to ensure the expert you are hiring is the best fit for your case.