In an interview with expert Ken Thompson, Robert Ambrogi discovers a number of ways legal professionals can learn to “share [their] toys.” Specifically, he identifies technologies and resources at the disposal of most law firms that will allow experts to maximize their value.
Ambrogi explains, “You hire experts for one reason – their expertise. But before they ever get to the point of applying that expertise, experts may spend valuable time on peripheral tasks that law firms are better equipped to handle.”
Experts are often initially tasked with labor-intensive activities such as acquiring and scrutinizing patents, blueprints or other documents. Most law firms are equipped with tools or resources that can benefit this process.
According to the article, law firms may have the ability to provide:
Higher-quality materials. If the law firm has access to higher-quality resources and materials, provide them to the expert at the outset. You would make the expert's work easier, more accurate and more efficient.
Share tools. In patent cases, for example, claims construction requires experts to focus their attention on the meanings of particular words, scouring claims to see how those words were used. An expert can spend substantial time going through each patent, highlighting occurrences of key words.
Make best use of technology. Don't send large electronic files to an expert by e-mail. In many environments, filters limit the maximum size of attachments and emails to between 2-10mb. The best option would be to load electronic data to an FTP server or burn it to a CD. Let the expert focus on analysis, not bandwidth.
Share software tools. As one example, law firms may have high-end software that allows them to search and index PDF files. Make this available for your expert to use – ideally through a Web interface – and you dramatically cut the expert's time and enhance his accuracy.
Provide a blueprint. With the benefit of both technology and experience, attorneys are able to anticipate key dates and events in a case. Experts, on the other hand, sometimes find themselves left in the dark. Early on, give the expert a blueprint laying out the overall course of a case and key events and deadlines involving the expert.
Sharing resources readily at their disposal, law firms could help ensure that they get the full value of their expert’s expertise without wasting any of his time.
Tell us: How does sharing work for you?
Taken in part from “Play Nice with Experts – and Help Yourself,” as published in an IMS ExpertServices e-publication edited by Robert Ambrogi.