‘Don’t send the numbers’

BVWireIssue #70-1
July 2, 2008

“Don’t send the numbers” was one of the suggestions from a participant at the True Confessions: Tales from the Trenches by Seasoned Experts presentation at NACVA’s conference last month in Las Vegas.  The presentation, which included many tales and resultant suggestions, was moderated by Michael Kaplan, CPA/ABV, CVA, CFFA (Kaplan, Abraham, Burkert & Company in Calabasas, CA), Rebekah Smith, CPA, CVA, CFFA (GBQ Consulting LLC in Columbus, OH) and Howard Zandman, CPA, CFFA (Tauber & Balser, PC, Atlanta).

Draft reports often prove troublesome for some experts and as a result, experts' drafts have given rise to some horrendous war stories which were the foundation for the True Confessions session.  The “don’t send the numbers” suggestion was in response to this hot discussion about the need to deal with the issues of drafts very carefully in order to avoid disasters.  Participants of the session chimed in with some practice tips for handling drafts, including:

  • sending a report to the attorney without any numbers of conclusions simply to fact check
  • or similarly, sending only selected sections for input on the facts or evidence
  • discussing the report over the phone. 

In the end, there was no agreed upon solution; however, everyone agreed that if an expert creates a draft then he or she needs to keep that draft and more importantly, expect it to be discoverable. 

What are your thoughts on sending a draft of your expert report on a litigation matter to the attorney with whom you are working?  Take our survey and we’ll report on the results in an upcoming BVWire.

Other hot topics included:

  • Deposition—when in deposition or at trial, don’t just answer “yes” or “no” to a question if not appropriate—if necessary, include verbiage to explain yourself so a complete statement is in the record. 
  • Practice management topics on billing and collecting for deposition time—suggestions included not subjecting yourself to a deposition when the opposition is paying unless you are paid before or at the deposition, and a suggestion for billing deposition time, as offered by an attendee, was to bill a flat rate for every 4 hour segment, or portion thereof. 
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