How the best expert witnesses got to the top—and stay there

BVWireIssue #84-3
September 23, 2009

Litigation consulting continues to be a strong revenue source for many business valuation practices. In his current online newsletter, John Borrowman  (Borrowman Baker, Franklin, TN) talks to some of the most highly regarded expert witness in the BV community to see how they stay at the peak of their game—and on top of attorney referral lists. Some key takeaways:

Be yourself. “I liked [the work] right away,” says Neil Beaton. “My very first case was a damage analysis. My boss at the time told me it's really formal and that I needed to be really careful and not to joke. I got in there and couldn't help myself. So, I cracked a pretty good joke that got everyone laughing, including the judge. It went over pretty well. At that point, I figured there was nothing that could go wrong. If I could pass that test, I was going to be pretty good at it.”

Don’t stress the ‘hurry up and wait’ of trial. “There's nothing you can do about it, other than take it all with a grain of salt,” says Gary Trugman. “If you're going to do this kind of stuff, you have to understand that this is the life you're asking for.”

Earn trust. “When I started, I would tell the lawyer, ‘I think the [other] guy is doing this and it's wrong’,” says Jay Fishman. “And he or she would have to get up and represent that to the judge. If I was right—and thank goodness I was right more often than I wasn't—I earned their trust and they paid more attention to me.”

Don’t take it personally. “I don't know whether I love to hate litigation, or hate to love it,” Chris Mercer says. “It's just one of those things. It's a different kind of business. It's not for everyone. A good expert witness has to have objectivity and a thick skin.”

To read all the experts’ answers, click here. While you’re there, check out the additional Borrowman articles, including “Could the BV Talent Shortage Return?”, which examines what smart firms are doing now to retain the best.

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