Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Less Busy October

After a few days of trial, the two sides in the case I'm acting as an expert witness on agreed to settle, before any of the experts reached the witness stand. So all of a sudden I'm less busy than I had expected. Maybe I'll have time to whittle down that never-empty to-do list. Or blog. Or maybe a new case will serendipitously come along.

Undoubtedly the people happiest with the settlement are the jury. They were going to have to sit through several weeks of trial, and while I'm sure they were all eager and thrilled to fulfill their civic duty, I'm sure they all have their own to-do lists to deal with.


Anonymous said...

Just curious, but do the expert witnesses get compensated even if they don't take the stand?

Michael Mitzenmacher said...

Yes (generally).

Generally expert witnesses have a fixed hourly rate. Before taking the stand, there are large amounts of preparation. Usually the results of this preparation are formalized, either by pre-trial depositions (which are later used at the trial), or by written expert witness reports.

My understanding is that experts are paid fixed hourly rates, instead of for example on a contingency basis, because they are NOT to have a monetary interest in the outcome of the case, which could obviously bias their testimony. The same idea would apply to your question; an expert shouldn't have a monetary motivation for pushing the case to a trial!