Cutty Expert Courtroom Witnesses
If you are a lawyer handling a case that involves document authentication, there’s a good chance you need a handwriting expert. There are many cases involving documents whose signatures are pretty much in doubt. Any case involving forgery requires a handwriting expert. Other cases also involve probate issues where there are questions regarding a deceased’s authorship of holographic will. Whatever case may be, it’s crucial that you entrust your case to the right expert. Cutty has those experts.
An expert’s testimony can make or break a case. You probably don’t need us to remind you of that fact. Unfortunately, handwriting authority is often quite murky to many attorneys. It is not a surprise that a lot of attorneys take a casual approach on hiring this type of expert. They simply go by word of mouth or they pick up an ad somewhere and they just go with it. Sadly, it’s very late in the game they find out that their expert isn’t up to the job.
The bottom line in looking for any type of expert is whether the expert can persuade the jury. If you want to increase the likelihood of winning more cases involving a handwriting expert, pay attention to the eight hallmarks listed below. Disregard or overlook any of these and your case might be in jeopardy.
Proper academic accreditation
The whole point of presenting an expert is for the jury to believe the expert’s testimony. It’s all about the credibility of the expert. One key factor that establishes credibility is the proper academic accreditation of the authority being presented.
Where did this person go to school? What kind of certificates or awards did this person get? How well did this person perform in an academic setting? The academic background (in of itself) may not be a deal breaker, but it definitely can help in building the overall credibility and authority level of the witness you are presenting. At the very least, some sort of higher education background at least gives you the assurance that this person learned through a structure environment and had the discipline to make it through such a structured system. Accreditation matters because there is at least some sort of official objective body vouching for this person’s ability to learn as well as the quality or formal designation of the information he or she learned.
Proper state or local accreditation
If the expert resides in a jurisdiction that requires state or local accreditation, it is crucial that this person meets this official requirement. It is definitely a red flag if your witness doesn’t even meet this low level requirement. Consider yourself warned if you go and present a handwriting expert who doesn’t even have the proper local accreditation. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s required by state or required by local laws. The person has to meet this minimum requirement otherwise the person cannot legally ply their craft in your jurisdiction. This should be a deal breaker. Do not compromise on this factor. You might just find out in the worst way possible why such local or state accreditation rules were put into place. Here’s a quick hint: accreditation rules were generally enacted by local and state lawmaking bodies for consumer protection purposes.
Solid, professional experience
A person is not an expert if he or she doesn’t have an established experience. The expert must know what he or she is talking about. At the very least, professional experience involves academic work and preparing all sorts of papers and scholarly studies regarding handwriting. On top of this, the person should have been a witness beforehand in at least several cases. This is a crucial criteria because if the witness has experience, he or she doesn’t have to be briefed regarding the format of the information required from them or the parameters of their testimony. They should already have a working idea of what is expected in the litigation process. This can save you quite a bit of money because any extra time spent by your expert witness to prepare will cost you or your firm some serious cash.
Worked with reputable lawyers and firms in the past
Be warned if you notice that the person you’re considering as an expert has worked only with firms or lawyers with less than sterling reputations. However, this may or may not be a red flag. Some authorities are just unlucky. They might just have been kept getting picked by attorneys and firms with a very shady reputation. However, if you notice a distinct pattern, then consider yourself warned.
Worked with discriminating corporate clients in the past
Experts in handwriting analysis are also routinely employed by corporate lawyers. Look for this type of background. If high level, top quality corporations and large institutions have hired your prospective expert, there’s a big chance you may be looking at the right person.
Has never been sued for improper or substandard work
Look at the litigation background of the person you are considering for expert testimony. Has this person ever been involved in a court action? Has this person ever been sued as an expert or for a work performed for a corporate client? If the answer is yes, then you might want to think twice.
Sought after by experienced litigators
Look at this person’s track record. Is this person in demand by the top lawyers in your area? Look at the particular practice area of the attorneys this person has worked for before. Do the top legal players in your area talk about this person? If this person is on the radar of the most experienced litigators in your region, city or area, chances are you may be looking at a winner.
Charges a realistic rate
While price should not make or break your decision, you still have to be financially responsible. This is especially true, if you are working for a corporate client. You don’t want to have your billing questioned because your chosen expert charges a rate which is far and beyond the going rate. Do some research regarding the going rate for this type of expert. See how this person’s preferred rate measures up.
Keep in mind the eight hallmarks listed above when looking for an expert in handwriting analysis. If you ignore any one of these hallmarks, you might end up placing your trust and confidence to somebody who might not be up to the job.