Leading lawyers take TOTAL command of their cases if they expect to win. This is ESPECIALLY true when experts are needed. This is true for a number of reasons:
1-Most experienced lawyers have used experts in the past and usually have a relationship with most expert leading experts in various fields because they have used them before and won cases with them
2-If they don’t know of or have used an expert, they usually ask colleagues which experts THEY have used successfully in the past
3-A top and competent lawyer does not want to leave such an important aspect of their case to chance as large amounts of money might be at stake
4-With the internet today, it is very easy to research the background of the expert and choose one that is highly recommended and has had a number of recommendations from other lawyers and favorable comments from judges.
5-Conversations between an attorney and expert are confidential, maybe not between a client and expert.
6-Unknown to the lawyer, the client may have said or done something to influence the expert to taint their opinion only to have that exposed at trial with devastating consequences
However, I have observed an alarming trend today where clients are contacting experts directly, either without the knowledge or approval of the attorney or with the recommendation of the lawyer to find their own expert because the attorney doesn’t want to pay for the expert.
As alluded to above, this can have devastating consequences for the case. Clients know nothing of the experts except what they read and are not as adept at uncovering damaging information which could greatly affect the outcome of the case.
Their decisions to hire are largely based on fee as they view all exerts as the same.
An example of how this can be a total catastrophe for a client not researching the background of their expert was a case I testified in recently where the defendant hired an expert against whom 7 previous judges found them not credible. The end result was that the defendant had to pay the plaintiff $300,ooo.00 plus interest because the court did not believe the testimony of the defendant’s expert.
A very disturbing thought does come to mind though, a scenario all too common unfortunately where wealthy litigants and companies are involved and the plaintiff has a lawyer working on contingency and that is that the defendant KNEW the truth in the case and hired a cheaper expert just to force their poorer opponent to hire a quality expert and drag the case out hoping for a more favorable settlement.
Many plaintiff attorneys working on contingency unfortunately, since they won’t be paid until the end of the case emphasize the defendants defenses to force their client to settle, especially if they thing their is the slightest chance they could lose. Many plaintiff law firms will not take cases at all for that reason. I have had a number of cases of my own where there was NO defense to the claim yet my own lawyer bombed me with “what if” questions. The bottom line with many plaintiff firms is minimum effort, maximum gain unless the case is a slam dunk, in which case plaintiff lawyers line up to take the cse.
The sad thing is that there are probably thousands of legitimate cases that never get justice because some attorney has decided it would take too much effort to prove them.
This means that only the wealthy get justice and you see the court dockets clogged every day with trivial matters brought by the wealthy who have plenty of money to hire top “hired guns”.
But most cases are brought by poor clients and attorney;s simple don’t want to hiire quality experts and leave it to the client’s who most often make poor choices when hiring experts because they are cheaper when in fact, hiring the expert is the job of the attorney.
The bottom line is that an attorney is playing “Russian Roulette” with their case when they allow a client to hire an expert directly because they have no clue what is going on and I am finding that is simply a cheap, lazy lawyer who allows that to happen. In a recent case, a poor client took $16000 out of his life savings to pay the lawyer so she already got her money and when my investigation showed massive fraud she didn’t want to pay me from the money she received to do the right thing and totally ignored my advice to prove the fraud.
I did turn the matter over to the judge and prosecutor so even though the lawyer didn’t want to do her job, maybe the judge and prosecutor will do theirs