What attorneys look for in a first-time expert witness

BVWireIssue #155-1
August 5, 2015

How can a valuation analyst become an expert witness if he or she has never done it before? It’s not easy, but it’s certainly doable. At several recent conferences, BVWire collected tips and insights from attorneys, judges, and valuators with experience as expert witnesses—and hiring them.

Specialize: You need to demonstrate that you have expertise in a niche. All of the top practitioners in business valuation have become specialized. A few ways to become known as a specialized expert is to speak at conferences, conduct webinars, and publish articles.

Most lawyers shy away from hiring fledgling expert witnesses. “We’re creatures of habit—we hire who we know,” says attorney Edward L. Kainen (Kainen Law Group PLLC), speaking at the AICPA Family Law Conference in Las Vegas. But if a valuator has what the attorney needs, then it’s possible to get the chance. “What I’m looking for is someone who has some degree of information on some area that I need.” He advises that often attorneys don’t recognize what valuation experts can bring to the table, so you need to make it clear to the attorney what specific specialties you have that the attorney may need when the right case comes along—and then just stay on the radar.

“I hire young people all the time,” says attorney Laurin D. Quiat (BakerHostetler LLP), also speaking at the AICPA event. He looks for people who have a little bit of creativity and a little spark in their eye. “I’ll sit down with a young valuator over a cup of coffee and ask: ‘What is it about you that is interesting and how can you translate that into being a good teacher?’ I need someone who can educate the court—and me,” he says.

For more tips, see the article “Insiders Reveal How to Get Into the Expert Witness Game—and Stay There” in the August issue of Business Valuation Update (subscription required).

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