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Working With An Expert Witness

By: Wendy Carlson
Tel: (214) 458-6009
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We appreciate Windle Turley, Esq. for his excellent lecture on "Working with an Expert Witness...the Plaintiff Attorney's Prospective."

Mr. Turley received his law degree in 1965, and has appeared seven times in D Magazine's "Top Lawyers" list and is a repeat selection for Texas Super Lawyers' List. When the Forensic Expert Witness Association held their meeting on January 28, 2010, he appeared as a delightful and insightful lecturer before a group of experts in varying fields.

Mr. Turley shared his view that "the Expert Witness is the life blood of your case." He went on to say that he has noticed an increasing hostility from judges toward expert witnesses.

Because the cost of retaining an expert is becoming increasingly high, and regulations such as binding arbitration are becoming mandated, Mr. Turley stated his belief that trial experts will soon become extinct unless a case has potentially significant value.

Mr. Turley outlined what an attorney-client should expect from the Expert:

  • A Reasonable Fee;
  • Honesty about the case;
  • Honesty about the Expert's history;
  • Availability to do the work requested;
  • The Expert's preparation for the case; and
  • Help with the attorney's preparation for the case.

In return, the Expert should expect the following from his attorney-client:

  • Respect and Courtesy;
  • Accommodation;
  • Retainer letter defining the scope of the project and how the Expert will be paid;
  • Early notification and ongoing updates;
  • Written questions the attorney plans on asking the Expert; and
  • A vigorous defense for Daubert challenges.

As an Expert, one should be willing and available to assist the attorney-client in proving the case. However, above all, honesty should always prevail, and an Expert should be an advocate for his opinion, not an advocate for the side that hired him.

Wendy Carlson, a Forensic Document Examiner, has studied handwriting examination and apprenticed under some of the leading court-qualified Forensic Document Experts in the U.S.A. such as: Bart Baggett, California; Robert Baier, New York and Don Lehew, Texas.

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