Fresh Perspective on Expert Selection

By on September 27, 2018

Executive Summary of an article written by
Miriam L. Fisher, Latham & Watkins LLP, Ann Gittleman, Duff & Phelps, and Marisa Abernethy, Duff & Phelps

An expert can make or break a company’s case and is often a critical component in effective advocacy. It is critical to ensure that the expert is not only the best credentialed available but also able to effectively communicate and connect with the ultimate intended audience, which could include secondary influencers, such as the judge’s clerk and other agency or courtroom personnel.

In a diverse world, the ultimate decision makers in dispute resolution and litigation represent a wide variety of backgrounds. Generally speaking, a decision maker may simply connect better with someone who shares certain of his or her own characteristics (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, geography, history, and so forth), assuming the expert is otherwise credible, qualified and persuasive. Thus, a younger, female or other minority expert enhances the diversity of the entire legal team, possibly making the presentation of the company’s story more relatable to a decision-making audience that is likely to have a similar makeup.

In any given case, it is impossible to predict precisely how an expert may resonate with the decision makers. However, legal professionals can enhance their chances of success by considering a variety of expert voices to communicate their opinions in legal disputes, rather than defaulting to the same old expert search pool. Value is added when the expert enhances the legal team’s relatability with the key decision makers. Taking a fresh look at how you select experts may be the difference between winning or losing your next case.

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