An expert opinion is supposed to be the product of an expert’s independent judgment – uninfluenced by who has retained them – but would their opinion change depending on which side hired them?
Family lawyer Gary Joseph, managing partner with MacDonald & Partners LLP, says that courts “continue to struggle with expert witnesses and the frequent alignment of their opinions with the positions of the party who retained them. In some cases, trial judges have openly wondered whether an expert’s opinion would be different if they had been retained by the party opposite.”
So: Does an Expert’s Opinion Depend on Who Hired Them?
We want to hear from lawyers as well as financial and other experts who have testified (or have witnessed expert testimony) in family law cases!
In your experience:
- Do expert opinions often align with the party who retained them – even if that opinion stretches credulity to the breaking point?
- Do you know of a case where an expert has produced an opinion favorable to their party – even though the facts did not support that conclusion? (Don’t name names!)
- When added to the already high cost of family litigation, do you believe that the expense of biased competing expert opinions – which commonly exceed six figures – is a significant barrier to access to justice to clients without extremely deep pockets?
- If this practice is rampant in family law litigation in your area, what do you think could be done to ameliorate or eliminate it?
Please email your short (about 250 words each) answers to one or more of these questions to Editors@FamilyLawyerMagazine.com by June 19, 2019; include your name, your profession, your firm’s website URL, and a 40-50-word biography with your submission. (If you already know exactly what you want to say, you can fill out and submit the short form at the bottom of this page.)
If you’d like your submission to be published anonymously, please state this clearly when you submit your answer(s) to us. We will only list your profession if and when we publish it, so no need to supply a bio with your submission.
All answers conforming to our Guidelines will appear on this website, and a select few will be printed in Family Lawyer Magazine.
We look forward to reading your answers to these important questions!
Diana Shepherd, CDFA®
Editorial Director, Family Lawyer Magazine