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5 Myths About Using an Expert Witness Referral Service

February 26, 2016


A reputable expert witness referral service can be a great asset to attorneys and law firms. As an expert referral service that has been helping trial attorneys since 1974, we have had to demystify common objections to the types of services we provide. Here are 5 misconceptions we have encountered throughout our years.

1. You can easily find an Expert Witness on your own.

This is very rarely true. It is a cornerstone of tort reform in most states that experts must be specifically qualified to address the issues that they are testifying to. For example, in personal injury cases, although there are many professional engineers, an engineer that has direct working knowledge of the details of a case, and has dealt with these issues, is going to make a much stronger and credible witness, and most importantly, will be able to overcome a Daubert challenge. In the area of medical malpractice, the practitioner must provide, or perform, the care in question and have been practicing at the time of the alleged malpractice, or a year leading up to the date in question. An expert witness referral firm does the following before recommending the appropriately qualified expert.

  • Match the expert’s qualifications with the case and/or the defendant.
  • Ensure there are no conflicts for the expert.
  • Make sure the expert has the specialized background to speak to the issues of the case.
  • Make sure that the expert is available to meet any deadlines.

Saponaro, Inc. is accountable for the Experts we refer. We know the Expert’s track record; we know the Expert’s background; and we know that our Experts are willing to support their opinions through deposition and/or trial. So, we take the “guesswork” out of obtaining an Expert, and can meet the strictest of deadlines. Therefore, you can use your time and staff on case work, while we handle obtaining the best available expert to assist you on your case.

2. There is no reason to pay a referral fee.

This depends on how much money you want to pay for an expert. For example, if the expert referral service you contact does not bill for the referral of an expert, it is because the service is billing for their expert throughout the life of the case, and adding on to the expert’s hourly rate. When you think about the amount of time you invest in an expert, the added fees raise the cost of your case, plus you may have to deal with the service anytime you want to reach out to your expert. At Saponaro, Inc. we charge a flat fee for the Expert witness referral, and allow you to deal directly with the expert on your case. Plus, we will replace an expert in the same specialty, for any reason, at no further cost.

3. The best expert witnesses are too pricey.

This is true, if you use a referral service that is in the practice of adding a fee to an expert’s hourly rate. Hiring an expert that is a leader in their field can be an expensive proposition, especially if you have to pay the referral service for every hour the expert’s commits to your case. These highly specialized experts can make the difference in your case, and since many experts prefer not to bill through a service, your choice of an expert will be limited. When the expert can deal directly with an attorney’s office there is no middle man to impede the process, or increase the costs. At Saponaro, Inc., you will receive a highly-qualified and credible expert witness for a flat fee, no matter the specialty, and the expert’s hourly rate is quoted upfront, at the time of the referral.

4. An expert witness can be hired directly for less.

This is not true, since once you calculate the time you spend on pursuing a potential expert and if you are not aware of the expert’s background on medical-legal reviews, your cost of locating your own expert can mean the difference between winning or losing a case. The fact of the matter is that it is a time consuming proposition to locate the right expert and screen that expert to make sure they are the best fit for your case. Saponaro, Inc. provides an attorney with the assurance of the expert’s qualifications to speak to the issues at hand, via an up-to-date CV; the expert’s ability to meet time constraints of the case; the expert’s willingness to support their opinion through deposition and/or trial; and the expert’s hourly rate. Plus, the guess work on whom you are hiring as an expert can be eliminated when you communicate directly with the expert we recommend.

 5. You will get locked into future charges.

This should not deter an attorney from using an expert witness referral service like Saponaro, Inc. If an attorney is satisfied with an expert we recommended, they certainly have the option to use the expert on future matters, but it is still in your best interest for us to screen the case and check for potential conflicts and/or confirm that the expert can meet any time constraints of the case. This is for the protection of both the attorney and the expert, if any problems occur,  we are able to step in a help resolve any potential issues. Plus, our referral fee is not cost-prohibitive.

Final thoughts

When working with a Consulting firm, their preference is to keep the case in-house, so they can bill for the expert, and not have to go outside their firm for an expert who does not work on the same billing schedule. So, you are not being referred to the expert best-suited to assist on your case, but one that the consulting firm can bill for. A big difference!

When working with referral services that bill for the expert, it may prohibit you from obtaining the best available expert for your case, since many experts do not like the third-party involvement. Limiting your options and add-on fees are not necessary to find the right specialist for your case.

Saponaro, Inc. has one incentive only, to provide you with an extremely well-qualified expert, that meets the exact needs and requirements of your case, in a cost-effective and timely manner. Throughout the years we have been able to establish relationships with some of the most prominent professionals in our industry. These relationships allow us direct access and immediate response to the professionals that can give your case immediate attention.  There should be no misconception about it!

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