About half of all 1st time experts I work with decide they would like to serve as an expert witness again, while the other half swear they won't. Ever.
Being an expert witness is not for everyone, but from those that find some appeal in it, I often get the question: “How can I do more of this work?”
The short answer is to be a subject matter expert with good communication skills, who is findable.
There are the obvious ways to create a higher profile for yourself as a subject matter expert. Build a professional web site designated to your experience and expertise. Build out a dynamic LinkedIn profile. Advertise in journals and newsletters in which attorneys will see you. These are good starts, but here are three easy suggestions to build your expert witness profile that you may not have considered.
Speak Up. Volunteer to speak at your local Bar Association, which is always looking for interesting speakers at their monthly meetings. Your entire audience will be attorneys. Provide a short, subject matter presentation to a law firm. One way to do this is to contact expert witness provider firms and try to partner with them on law firm presentations. Reach out to your local news media (newspapers, radio, TV, online sources) and offer to be an expert they can quote. Just be sure to stick to what you know and understand that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. Along with exposure to many people, these also offer another unique opportunity - having your presentation recorded. These (edited) recordings of you speaking can be effective and attention-grabbing tools in marketing yourself, when embedded in your webpage, hyperlinked into a marketing email, or posted online, such as on YouTube.
Hitch a Ride. Many organizations have already invested in the web design, maintenance, and SEO to attract clients – why not use that to your advantage, often at little or no cost? Look to your own industry associations, which may already have professionally built and maintained websites that include a publicly accessible section on their members, often titled “Experts.” Use their SEO to your advantage by getting onto these lists. If you are a member of a professional association, you may already be listed there – if so, make sure your profile is up to date and well written. One professional organization that most experts can join is the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA). They have a searchable list of members from all subject areas whose common denominator is being an expert witness. University webpages often include useful links for people looking for experts. If you are an academic, and many expert witnesses are, check with your university, as they will likely have a Resources section on the website for journalists to find an expert. Reputable expert placement firms often have publicly accessible, anonymous profile pages where people looking for expert witnesses can go.
Fish Where the Fish Are. Go to conferences where attorneys meet. It’s easy to meet and greet people there. Be ready to deliver your “elevator pitch” and a business card, and be sure to ask for one of their business cards for follow up. Then follow up. Depending on your subject matter expertise, you may want to consider State or National Bar Association Meetings, the Association of Corporate Counsel, or one of my favorites, the American Intellectual Property Law Association.
These are three strategies to get more exposure to the right people who will be retaining expert witnesses.
If you would ever like to chat about becoming an expert witness, or building your expert witness business, drop me a line. I am always happy to talk about my area of expertise – recruiting and placing expert witnesses with attorneys who need them.
Toby M. Edwards has been in the expert witness placement business for 12 years and is a Senior Recruiter with IMS ExpertServices.