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Paid Expert Referral Services Leave a Lot to be Desired

October 26, 2010

During the past two weeks, I have heard complaints from four separate attorneys regarding their experiences using paid expert referral services.  There are many of these types of organizations that offer to locate the “right expert” for a given matter from their stable of candidates.  These groups typically don’t charge a flat fee, but instead markup experts’ standard rates by 20-80% in exchange for connecting clients with expert witness candidates.

Each of the attorneys I spoke with relied upon such a service when tasked with locating experts with unusual areas of expertise.  Unfortunately, none of them had a successful outcome.  Two attorneys complained that the referral groups pushed experts whose qualifications were not quite a good match for their specific needs.  One attorney reported that the referred expert had sufficient expertise but performed poorly in deposition.  The last attorney stated that the retained expert actually withdrew immediately prior to trial!

I’m sure that there are attorneys out there with positive experiences working with experts who were obtained via paid referral services.  However, I would caution attorneys to perform sufficient due diligence when vetting any potential expert witness, especially one who comes highly recommended by a group or individual who stands to gain financially from the retention.

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