Good office management is just as important in a plaintiff’s practice as it is in any other law practice. Retaining past work for use in the future is a good method of efficiency. Checklists, however, are the most fundamental ways to avoid mistakes and have office efficiency. One or more checklists for all of the generally repetitive work done in the plaintiff practice saves time and avoids error. Commercial pilots carefully follow checklists to ensure safety. Good plaintiff trial lawyers should employ checklists to ensure proper preparation and high quality work.
Working with retained experts is a common occurrence in a plaintiff practice. Creating a checklist regarding retained experts mitigates against overlooking important issues and allows improvement through review experience. In addition, an expert checklist makes it possible for paralegals to take over matters that are important, but can be done by non lawyers which saves lawyer time.
Here is simple expert checklist for working with your expert witnesses. It is only a brief outline of what could be a more detailed checklist.
- Investigate possible expert witnesses on the subject.
- Make initial contact with potential expert see if the expert will assist
- Provide expert materials necessary for initial review and evaluation.
- Obtain experts initial evaluation, fees and obtain:
(1) Copy of curriculum vitae.
(2) Fee information regarding expert services
(3) Obtain telephone report regarding initial evaluation. Decide whether to use expert
5. Provide expert all relevant materials for complete review and evaluation.
6. Create reminder system to advise expert regarding progress of the case every 30 days.
7. When expert has been disclosed to defense, notify expert and prepare for discovery.
8. When expert deposition is scheduled provide expert with update of relevant materials:
(1) Discovery materials, plaintiff & defense, relevant to experts testimony
(2) Digital or hard copy of all relevant depositions plaintiff and defendant
(3) Determine if video should be taken for any reason including perpetuation
9. Arrange for expert deposition preparation meeting. See expert preparation checklist.
10. Arrange for meeting just before deposition takes place.
11. Have reminder to provide expert copy of their deposition with exhibits when done
12. Have reminder to provide expert with all relevant defense depositions & discovery.
13. Maintain a detailed list of all materials provided expert.
14. Create an expert file, digital or hard copy, with deposition, expert fees, relevant discovery, all reports or communications with expert, all materials shared. Create index to same.
15. Arrange for deposition summary to be put with expert deposition.
16. When trial date is set:
(1) Notify expert and ensure availability.
(2) Create a reminder system to stay in contact with expert every 30 days
(3) Create reminder system to discuss with expert forty five days before discovery cut off any additional work, modifications or revisions.
(4) Create reminder system to meet with expert 45 days before trial for discussion.
17. Decide schedule for expert’s testimony at trial and preparation meeting.
18. Have reminder:
(1) Notify expert regarding outcome of case
(2) Obtain final complete billing
19. Prepare evaluation summary regarding quality of expert for future reference.