Expert Witness Conflict of Interest

Any potential conflicts of interest or potential bias should be brought to the retaining attorney’s attention immediately. Such conflicts could include a financial or personal
relationship to an opposing party or lawyer in the case. A potential bias could include a financial or personal relationship to the party or lawyer who is retaining the expert in the case.

Experts should not get involved in cases where a potential conflict of interest exists. Bias can and will be brought out before the jury to discredit an expert. An expert should only get involved if he and the retaining attorney feel confident to risk having the expert’s credibility challenged due to potential bias.

Example 22.4: Conflict of interest
Q. From expert: Who is the defendant in the case?
A. Smith and Jones, LLP.
Q. I’m sorry, I can’t get involved. My sister is an equity partner in that firm.

Example 22.5: Potential bias
Q. From expert: What firm are you with again?
A. Robinhood and Coleson.
Q. I have to inform you that my niece, Mary Jones, is an associate at your firm and they could use
that against me to show bias.

Excerpted from the SEAK text; The A-Z Guide to Expert Witnessing