A panel of top litigators at last month’s BVR Divorce Summit agreed that they stress credibility first and foremost. But, they also demand creativity, communication skills, and commitment from their business appraiser experts.
Good work is not enough. An expert’s analytical skills and the quality of their reports are a given. These days, being intelligent, experienced, and available won’t get you in the door. To impress the more sophisticated litigators in divorce, tax, and business disputes, you’ll want to make them sit up and say, “I never would have thought of that.”
“I want someone who will present well in court, obviously,” said Allen Mayefsky (Sharesky Aronson Mayefsky & Sloan LLP, New York City). “But most financial experts do the same thing in report after report. I want someone who can apply the concepts in a legitimate and justifiable way—but that also may be out of the box.”
“I want value added,” agreed Mark Sobel (Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis LLP, New Jersey). “I want someone who’s going to get me to think about things I might not otherwise—like different methodologies, things that are wrong with the other expert’s report. I want to be educated on all the things I might miss, and I want it explained in as imaginative way possible.”
“I’ll use consulting experts who are incredibly creative and smart and good analysts,” said Don Schiller (Schiller Ducanto and Fleck, Chicago). For testifying experts, he looks for good teachers, “someone who can take complex topics and spoon feed them in a convincing way.”
“I want experts who are very proficient in e-technology,” added Stephen Kolodny (Kolodny & Anteau, Beverly Hills). “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so an experts’ use of graphics and exhibits are critical to “telling the story” of valuation at trial.