With more than 50 years of experience constructing and inspecting buildings, together with 40 plus years of working with lawyers, from sole practitioners to partners of major law firms, EXPERIENCE has provided us with the ability to quickly get to the “heart” of the matter being litigated and to educate legal counsel so that they may easily understand the technical issues as well as the legal implications of the case. Our Los Angeles construction experts at MPGroup have the skill and knowledge base to provide insight into these topics.
The vetting process begins with the initial interview between counsel and the expert. This examination is truly a two-way street as the lawyer examines the education, experience, specialized training and overall qualifications of the expert. Deposition and trial experience questions are important to ask and conflict of interest questions should not be forgotten. The expert should be vetting counsel and counsel’s client at the same time. Fees, billing and payment requirements must be discussed and agreed to early on. Nothing can replace many years of hands-on experience and specialized training in the corresponding technical field(s) being pursued for their expert opinion(s) and future testimony. Deposition and trial experience including the experts’ performance during examination is a crucial element for consideration.
Communication between counsel and the expert is absolutely essential. We are keenly aware of the attorney work product and the attorney/client privilege doctrines. We also realize that all writings and electronic E-mails to and from the expert are fully discoverable. Therefore, verbal communication between counsel and the expert is vital. We realize that trial attorneys are extremely busy and are not always available to discuss the case and the experts’ progress on the telephone.
To facilitate better communication between counsel and our expert(s) we ordinarily do not charge for telephone conversations (unless we first ask and receive permission to bill for working the case over the phone). In addition, we remain available to our clients beyond “normal business hours” and on weekends when needed. Communication is a big thing here at MPGroup!
Use your expert(s) to assist you with locating discoverable items, documents, photographs and official records. Collect all discoverable items and provide them to your expert(s) in the format that the expert can best utilize. We prefer digital copies of documents and photographs. We collect and disseminate them on our secure FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Server. This practice makes handling large digital files convenient, easy to handle and secure. We also maintain our computer case files in perpetuity as they are backed up daily and archived onsite and offsite (for safe keeping).
We urge counsel to utilize the experts’ expertise and enlist their assistance to help counsel prepare questions for depositions. Commonly, by the time the expert receives deposition transcripts (often without the exhibits) it is too late to provide counsel with specific or technical input for the Q & A.
We prefer digital copies of deposition transcripts, and have found that receiving the transcripts in full-page Adobe Acrobat™ (PDF) or Microsoft Word™ (doc or docx) format, rather than the condensed transcript makes it much easier to review, annotate and disseminate in whole or in part. Having a legible copy of the exhibits is also very helpful and much appreciated.
It may be advisable for counsel to consider hiring the expert as a consultant early on to enable them to physically inspect the site or premises in question to evaluate, collect relevant evidence and document with numerous digital photographs. The photographs should illustrate the overall location, physical address and close-up photos of the issue(s) at hand. The close-up photographs should include a ruler or other measuring device in the frame that clearly shows the scale or size of the object(s) in question.
Early site or premises inspection should be conducted quickly before any evidence can be degraded or irrevocably lost. This is where cases can be won or compromised!
Our policy regarding opinions is to first base all opinions upon material facts. Prima facie evidence really constitutes a sound basis upon which an expert witness can rest his/her opinions. We cite relevant code sections, code standards, document(s), and plan sheet with detail numbers and other relevant empirical data to support the opinion(s) we proffer… PERIOD!
Our Los Angeles construction experts at MPGroup are here to help you! Call us today at (800) 684-9100 to schedule your consultation.