The ability to conduct a successful client-expert interview is a skill that every expert should work to cultivate and improve. While interviews are an opportunity for an expert to determine eligibility for a project, it is also an opportunity for the attorney-client to determine if the expert is a good fit for their case. Obviously, this determination must be made before an engagement occurs.
In addition to possessing the specific expertise required, good interviewing techniques significantly improve an expert’s chance of obtaining an engagement. Most experts are already familiar with basic interviewing dos and don’ts, but a review just before an interview can help ensure you present yourself in the best possible light.
1. Review all case material and attorney information before the interview.
2. Maintain a pleasant and likable demeanor.
3. Be an active listener.
4. Respond with short and concise answers, don’t ramble.
5. Give concrete examples of your relevant experience.
6. Do not give answers or express opinions that can be construed as biased or prejudicial.
7. Let the attorney/client lead the conversation.
IMS ExpertServices Specific Tips
8. If the attorney/client asks about rates, answer that you have provided your rate schedule to us and refer them to us for coordination.
9. If the attorney/client asks about referring additional or other experts, answer that you do, or do not, have names for them to consider. If you do have names of experts that would appear to be a good fit for the case, tell them that you will send the names to IMS ExpertServices for coordination.
10. If the attorney/client asks about support staff, answer if you do, or do not, have support staff. If you do, tell them that you will provide their names and job descriptions to IMS ExpertServices for coordination.
11. Occasionally, an attorney/client will take the discussion farther than a simple interview. While a brief consultation is to be expected, if you feel that the discussion goes farther, (i.e., into work product), you have the option of stopping and asking for clarification, e.g., “It sounds like we are getting into the case now, does this mean that I have the engagement?”
Closing the Interview
12. Be positive, e.g., “I have enjoyed discussing this matter with you.”
13. Ask for the engagement, e.g., “What are the next steps?”
If an interview is taking place in person or via video, there are additional considerations of body language and attire. For a phone interview, however, the most important thing to remember is to be knowledgeable of your expertise using short, concise sentences. The ability to only answer the questions asked will be invaluable when it comes to testimony, and is good for the attorney to hear you practicing during the interview.
Aside from increasing the likelihood of an engagement, these simple tips also help to ensure a smooth working relationship between the attorney, expert and IMS ExpertServices.
After an interview, please reconnect with us to compare notes and coordinate the next steps.