One of the many duties a paralegal may undertake is acting as a liaison between expert witnesses and attorneys. The paralegal is often behind-the-scenes coordinating, evaluating and scheduling with the expert witness to insure that the testimony has maximum impact.
A paralegal will often be assigned the following tasks in regards to the preparation of an expert witness:
Selection: Paralegals work with the trial team in determining the best expert witness for a particular case. This can be done by reaching out for recommendations from the paralegal and legal associations who have worked with the witness before. Another tool in selecting an expert witness is a national search company to find a specialist that suits the case best.
Confirmation: A paralegal will be responsible for confirming with the client that he/she accepts the terms of coming on as an expert witness. It will be the responsibility of the paralegal to verify the expectations as well as the charges for obtaining the expert. Fees for each expert will vary widely depending on the services of each expert.
Qualifications: It is important that due diligence is given to researching the expert’s qualifications and verifying that there is no conflict of interest with the expert’s testimony. Additionally, it is just as important to review the qualifications of any experts that are being called by the opposing counsel in order to prepare for cross-examination.
Organization: All records being utilized for the case must be organized as needed by the supervising attorney. Submitting documents in a logical format that is indexed will prevent delays during the case.
Communication: The paralegal will often be the main line of communication between the legal team and the expert witness. Location, times and dates as well as changes in the case must be communicated in a timely and efficient manner.
Paralegals are often the tie that binds, and understanding the role within the legal team will lead to success for the entire team.