Steven Babitsky, Esq.
Expert witnesses may find themselves working on a case for multiple attorneys who have the same client or clients with similar interests. In these cases, the attorneys may propose that they ‘share’ paying the expert for their services. The expert should seriously consider rejecting this proposal for the following reasons:
- Assuming that you have an employment contract (which all expert witnesses should have, see here: https://store.seak.com/expert-witness-retention-contract-download/) and you have 4 attorneys ‘sharing’ your fees, you will need to have all 4 attorneys sign the contract. As you might expect, this may be much more difficult than just having one attorney sign the contract.
- Collecting these ‘shared’ fees on an ongoing basis will require that you bill 4 attorneys instead of one and have to deal with late payments, disputes, etc.
- If and when a serious fee dispute arises (which unfortunately is not uncommon), you will be faced with the daunting challenge of negotiating and/or (as a last resort) filing lawsuits against 4 different lawyers from 4 different law firms. In these circumstances, getting all 4 attorneys to negotiate an acceptable settlement may be very difficult. Obtaining your outstanding fees in this situation will become problematic.
Experts, when faced with this fee ‘sharing’ proposal by counsel, should insist that one of the attorneys sign the contract and be solely responsible for the payment of your fees. This will reduce the complexity of collecting your fees in total in a timely fashion.