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LNCtips.com: 4 Expert Bank DOs and DON'Ts


Over the course of my career, I've gone from using just a couple of experts to using hundreds of them. Keeping that many experts straight is difficult - unless you create an expert bank in your computer. Just as a regular bank is a place that stores money, an expert bank is a place that stores information about expert witnesses. There are ways to set up an expert bank that don't work well over time - I know because I've used them - and ways that do. Let's look at four DOs and corresponding DON'Ts for creating an expert bank.

1) DON'T try to remember every detail about your experts. Remembering experts was easy for me - until I started working with dozens of them. DO create your computer expert bank starting with your first expert. If it's too late for that (as it was for me), add all new experts as you hire them. Then add "X" number of experts to your expert bank each day or week. This method takes just a few minutes each time.

2) DON'T duplicate your efforts. For my first effort at creating an expert bank, I stored expert information in computer folders labeled by specialty - Pediatrics, Oncology, Pathology, etc. However, I found that experts didn't always neatly fit into those categories. Where do you put information for an expert who is an oncologist but who also is a pathologist? I found myself putting these types of experts into two or more folders - clearly a duplication of effort. DO identify an easy way to label your experts. For the last few years, I have found that it works well to create a folder for each expert, name it precisely, and then use the search feature in Libraries. Libraries is the name of the folder on the bottom left of your computer monitor. It is also called Windows Explorer). For example, I might name a folder as Anderson, Megaly RN (Pediatric Neurosurgery). In the future if I need an expert with Pediatric Neurosurgery experience, I will type those terms in the search bar, which will instantly identify Megaly Anderson's folder.

3) And speaking of the search feature in Libraries, DO save CVs in Microsoft Word format whenever possible. Word automatically indexes all the text within documents, which makes searching for specific words a breeze. For example, if you remember that you once used an expert from Akron but don't remember the expert's name, you can type the word Akron in the search bar as shown in the image below. Searches in Word take just seconds. DON'T save documents in PDF format, if you can help it. There IS a way to search for text within PDF documents, but the process is incredibly slow.
Libraries

4) DO keep pertinent documents in each expert's folder. Examples of pertinent documents include the expert's CV or resume, fee schedule, contracts, case list, contact information, W-9 form, and preferences. I add the date to the name of the CVs, resumes, and fee schedules. If the experts later update their CVs or fee schedules, DON'T delete older versions of the documents in case there is a dispute about the expert's credentials or fees. Instead, create a subfolder called Old CVs and Fee Schedules (or something similar) and move the older versions into the subfolder.

Using these DOs and DON'Ts makes it easy to create and maintain an expert bank. You'll be able to store information about all your expert witnesses and locate their information with ease.

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...Katy Jones