If you are asked to do a background search on an expert witness, start with an Internet search - see if you can get a resume (or anything else) using general search engines (see "Search Engines") and perhaps some of the special search engines discussed in the "Search Engines" entry. Search by the expert's name, the name of his company, and by any other information that might lead to more information.
If you subscribe, search AAJ Exchange (for plaintiff's attorneys), LexisNexis Expert Research on Demand (formerly IDEX) and/or VerdictSearch.
Also consider searching Daubert Tracker.
Otherwise, you may want to check the free expert Web sites posted by the National Law Journal, Jurispro, Findlaw and/or LERN. If you don't subscribe to LexisNexis Expert Research on Demand, it is also available on on Lexis, but you may not get the attorney testimonials about their experiences with the expert.
Follow that with a search of (a) expert directories, (b) news, (c)judicial opinions and (d) case filings in the relevant databases, as appropriate, on Lexis and/or a Westlaw. Also check directories for the expert's field (e.g., Martindale-Hubbell for lawyers) and any appropriate database on ProQuest Dialog (e.g., the ProQuest Materials Research Professional database) or elsewhere (e.g., Medline for doctors).
You might also want to:
- Search article indexes and trade journals in the experts' field (see, e.g., "Medical Materials" or "Science and Engineering")
- If the witness has a sufficiently unusual name, search Federal and state docket sheets for lawsuits involving the witness; for the best searching, use the Single Search on Courtlink or try Bloomberg Law, both of which also search case filings (for more options, see "Docket Sheets")
- Search for the witness' Ph.D dissertation (see "Dissertations and Masters' Thesis")
- Search for testimony at a hearing before Congress or before a state legislature (see "Congressional Hearings")
- Search for conference papers in the British Library Inside Conferences on ProQuest Dialog
- Search blogs and podcasts (see "Search Engines")
- Search SEC filings (see the Filings section of "Securities and Exchange Commission")
- Search for publications by the author in: the U.S. Copyright Office (or other national copyright office database); the Library of Congress catalog and/or the catalog of any other library focusing on the expert's specialty; also check Amazon.com
- Search for patents registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or any other relevant national patent office (see "Patents - Foreign")
- Check professional and social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook
- Check the expert's credentials by calling the relevant schools, searching licensing agency Web sites, etc.
Choosing Witnesses: You can use almost any of the above-mentioned sources to help choose an appropriate expert witness. You might also want to search Westlaw's EXPNET and EW-DOCS databases or contact an expert-finding agency, such as the Technical Advisory Service for Attorneys (TASA), LexisNexis Expert Research on Demand, The Expert Institute, or Thomson Reuters Expert Witness Service; generally you pay only if you decide to use their expert.
Fees: Seak, Inc. publishes a National Guide to Expert Witness Fees and Billing Procedures.
Sample Documents: Westlaw's EW-DOCS database provides reports, affidavits, depositions and trial transcripts filed by, for or about expert witnesses.