Finding the right expert witness...

There was once a time when people used phone books and called operators when looking for goods or services. However, the Internet has become the go-to medium for finding the products and services we need. Not surprisingly, when attorneys need to find expert witnesses to support them during litigation, the Internet is also the first place that many of them are looking.

Search engines will reveal that the two primary means for attorneys to connect with experts online are through directory sites and referral sites. Depending on an attorney’s needs, they might choose to find experts through either one of these types of sites.

Directory sites present a large aggregate of experts’ names in various fields. Experts on these sites submit their qualifications publicly and often pay these directory sites for the privilege of being listed.

These directories are often well-categorized, and they present the opportunity for attorneys to conduct granular searches for experts by name, location, industry and topic of expertise. If attorneys have a clear idea what they are looking for or possess the time to search and follow-up, directories can be a viable option.

However, there are some reasons that attorneys may choose not to go with a directory site. If an attorney is short on time or is unclear of the exact type of expert she’s looking for, directory sites might waste even more valuable time. Another possibility to consider is that the most relevant expert might not appear in the directory. Since directories make experts’ information readily available, there may be some experts who would opt out of participating.

This is where referral services come in. Referral services work with attorneys to find the right expert at the right price point. Reputable expert witness referral services also tend to do an excellent job of vetting their experts. This can save attorneys more time and perhaps provide them with a higher caliber of expert.

If you are going to work with a referral service, it’s important to gather as much information as possible. Though issues of confidentiality might keep you from divulging certain key bits of information, you will want to provide the expert witness referral service with as many details about the case as you can. The better they understand your objectives, the better job they can do of finding you a pool of viable experts.

Though expert witnesses can be crucial in gaining the upper hand during litigation, the right experts can be hard to find. There are a lot of experts out there, and the Web can seem as big as the world itself. Luckily, both expert witness directories and referral services can help the Web seem a bit smaller.