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Playing a more open game


To maximise your chances of getting the right expert and the right expert strategy, bring us in early.

We would say that, wouldn’t we? But let’s be frank. You succeed when you choose the right expert strategy for your client and find the right experts to support it. We succeed when law firms return to us again and again.

Yet, when a dispute lawyer calls us, a standard opening gambit is: ‘I need an expert to do X.’ Sometimes the request is as simple as that; they have a list of technical questions and need expert answers. More frequently, this is simply the first pawn pushed in a ritual opening that limits options and closes down promising branches.

In larger, more complex cases, converging quickly on an expert feels like making swift progress. But doing so can create a disadvantageous position. A desire for efficiency is understandable; we know you’re busy and want to optimize the work of those you hire. But many of these cases can last for years. They’re like a classical chess World Championship, not blitz games in Washington Square Park. Of course, the chess analogy falls down when you consider we’re both on the same side.

So, how to set up a strong position?

When asked to provide a certain type of expert, we start with lots of questions. Often, the picture presented is incomplete, with neither of us finding out until you go back to the client. Instead, invite us to assess the case’s needs together. Particularly as you may need additional experts for different questions.

In one very large case, a law firm requested us to provide a piping expert. Which we did. But several months into the job, it became clear their approach needed a wider lens. This time around, we analyzed the situation together, which led to a multidisciplinary team of experts. Had their initial approach to us leaned more on our domain experience, rather than just telling us what they wanted, the legal team would have arrived at that realization sooner, giving more time to plan.

We believe law firms do understand the benefits of a divergent strategy, in which the early phase looks at all the angles to define the expert witness strategy before converging on the type of expert and the pool of people available. But sometimes situations lead them to make hasty moves.

Ultimately, your team is charged with winning the game. We’re there to support you. Involving us as early as possible avoids having to go around the block three or four times with different experts, making sure you’re getting the right people to fit your strategy.


[Image credit:  the surviving pawn, Randy Fath on Unsplash]