CONTROLLING THE COSTS OF YOUR EXPERTS
If you require forensic or expert services, typically your experts fees costs should be small in relation to the potential cost of the problem and provide value for money. To help ensure this, below are some suggestions. The only source of income an expert's practice has is from fees, so the key is to use their time as productively as you can.
- Engage an experienced expert to have a brief look at the problem early on and assist your scoping of the necessary investigation and your determination of what expertise you require. This may be done on site, at a meeting or even on the phone.
- Clearly define scope and provide a tight and well documented brief. In dispute cases this is usually the solicitor's task.
- Minimise the number of experts involved.
- Control all briefing and de-briefing communication, ideally through one channel. In dispute cases this is usually the solicitor's task.
- Ensure you understand what each expert is doing, their expertise and the limitations on what they can achieve.
- Keep the final outcome in mind.
- Don't be afraid to ask your expert or legal council to talk informally about "what if" scenarios.
- Most experts prefer briefing documents in electronic form but check first. Sometimes large drawings are best in hardcopy.
- Unnecessary or long phone calls.
- Unnecessary emails.
- Ad hoc or sequential briefs.
- Providing irrelevant information in a briefing file. If you are in doubt about what information to provide check first or provide a schedule first.
- Unnecessary or long meetings or meetings with large numbers of participants.
- Paying professional fees for non professional work such as picking up or dropping off documents, making copies etc. Few experts employ clerical assistants so they may charge their expert rates for all activity.
- Multiple versions of reports.
- Asking an expert to provide services or opinion outside their field of expertise.