Tips On How To Keep Costs Down When Working With Experts


Tips On How To Keep Costs Down When Working With Experts

Timing, planning, and clear communication can go a long way toward minimizing the cost of engaging an expert. Here are some considerations that can make a difference:

Start looking early. Time is money. Give yourself enough time to conduct a thorough search. You will have a much better chance of finding someone who is qualified, does not have a conflict, has not been approached by another party, and will be available when needed.

Early case evaluation can be very cost-effective because it provides an opportunity for experts to advise you about a case's technical strengths and weaknesses at the outset -- before you've invested time and money. Based on an early opinion, you might proceed or turn down a case.

Education: If the case involves unfamiliar technical terms or issues, consider whether it might be more cost-effective to educate yourself or to engage a consulting expert to teach you what you need to know.

Explain your strategy in detail. Early on, provide sufficient information and materials for experts to determine if they have the precise expertise you require and can comfortably support your position. It's a good idea to ask whether you will be billed for the time it takes to review your materials.

Do your homework. Screen each expert carefully to avoid false starts, disappointments, and having to start the search process again. Assume nothing. Take the time to interview candidates thoroughly, and go over their CVs in depth. Ask for references from previous clients and check them out. Look into Daubert histories. By reading experts' reports and publications, you will learn how well they organize ideas and communicate. You may also learn whether they have gone on record with statements that might prove damaging to your case.

Communicate about costs and your expectations.  Don't hesitate to ask experts about charges. For instance: When does the meter start running? Will there be a charge for an initial, face-to-face interview? Are fees based on hourly, daily, or project rates? Do deposition and court rates vary? Are any fees required in advance? Are any out-of-pocket expenses anticipated?

If you have a budget, it is wise to disclose it at the outset. If you want to restrict the amount of time or expense for a specific phase of work, or for the entire engagement, ask for a detailed estimate. Experts appreciate knowing the parameters, and this conversation can help avoid disagreements later on.

Some experts add a surcharge for out-of-pocket expenses. You might save money by paying these expenses directly.

Communicate about scheduling. Experts charge for time they set aside for depositions and court appearances. If you engage an expert and learn that a meeting or appearance will be postponed or cancelled, notify the expert immediately to avoid being billed for this time.

© 2005  The TASA Group, Inc.   This information may not be reproduced without permission.

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