Expert witness testimony has become an important factor in most legal proceedings today. Becoming an expert witness is not as difficult as it might appear. As a minimal, expert witnesses must have knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education that can help legal teams, jurors, and judges understand the relevant evidence or to determine facts in a particular case.
Expert Witness Fees
Being an expert witness can be a nice little side job if you qualify. Based on expert witness fee data from more than 35,000 cases, the Expert Institute found that the average rate for initial case reviews for all expert witnesses is $356 per hour, the average rate for deposition appearances is $448 per hour, and the average rate for trial testimony is $478 per hour. These fees are paid by the legal team who hires you.
If you qualify legally as an expert witness, there are practical considerations you need to keep in mind before committing yourself. Foremost, you should be comfortable and confident in a courtroom, knowing that every bit of your personal and professional life could be scrutinized and your testimony might be challenged by the opposing side.
Out of Court Opportunities
Many cases do not end up in the courtroom, though, and expert witness opportunities would involve tasks such as reviewing documents, writing reports, performing tests, or visiting crime or accident sites. Whether your case goes to court or not, you need to be up front with your legal team as to what you are and are not comfortable doing.
If you have distinguished yourself in a particular field and feel that your expertise can help others, becoming an expert witness can be rewarding. The experience you gain as an expert witness can carry over and enhance your professional status, as long as you know what you’re talking about and are willing to stand by your words.