By effectively understanding and capitalizing on a financial expert’s role in litigation, clients and counsel can best leverage their expert’s contributions to litigation matters.
The Financial Expert’s Role
A financial expert’s main role is to educate, by helping the attorney and the court to understand the financial aspects of a case during evidence gathering, trial preparations, possible mediation and in court at trial. Therefore, the expert’s ability not only to understand the issues but also to communicate them clearly and in understandable language is paramount.
Beware of the expert who cannot educate the attorney and who requires much guidance. Financial experts should be capable of explaining their methods, underlying data, procedures, ethical issues, proper formats, interpretations, and terminology. They should also be able to explain potential weaknesses, questions they may face, questions for the opposing expert and expected answers, as well as liability and damage theories. The basis for the expert’s conclusion must be clearly understood by both the attorney and expert before trial to prevent misinterpretations or surprises.