Should you hire an expert witness or a consulting expert?  Why do some attorneys hire both a consultant and an expert witness? Distinguishing between these two types of experts at an early date in time would work as a major advantage for your case, since each individual serves a very specific function.

A consulting expert cannot testify in court, they usually have client-attorney privilege.  While the benefits of an expert witness include the ability to testify at trial, there are certain conditions to be aware of. The expert witness is designated, and is therefore able to be deposed by the opposing party.

Consulting ExpertExpert Witness
A consulting expert does not have to be disclosed to the other parties.An expert witness needs to be disclosed and designated by a specific expert disclosure date.
A consulting expert cannot testify.An expert witness can testify.
A consulting expert cannot be deposed.An expert witness might be deposed by the opposing counsel.
There’s work product protection for a consulting expert’s report.Expert witness reports are discoverable. Unless it is a draft report, then there might be some work product protection.
Communications and interactions between a consulting expert and attorney are confidential.Communications between expert witness and attorney are fully discoverable.
A consulting expert can be still be designated as an expert witness before the expert disclosure deadline.Once designated as an expert witness, the process is hard to reverse, and it will come with ramifications.
Attorneys normally do not require a consulting expert to have trial experience.Attorneys normally prefer expert witnesses to have prior testimony experience.

By learning the differences between an expert witness and an expert consultant, you are much more likely to make an informed decision as to which type of expert would be most beneficial for your case.