An Expert Witness who receives a phone call on a Wednesday morning from an attorney for a designation of an Expert Witness by the following Friday is a common occurrence. It is dangerous for an attorney to make a last minute expert designation, because the Expert Witness he chooses may not be a good fit for that case. In addition, the Expert Witness may have a heavy caseload; as a result, the expert start-up fees may be double the normal price.
The Expert will be required to work weekends and evenings to keep up with the case research and reading the substantial volumes of materials 30 to 60 days before arbitration. A quality Expert Witness may insist on charging a retainer fee 2 to 3 times higher than normal for his standard of care, custom and practice and fiduciary duties to the attorney.
The increase in the retainer is for the Expert Witness to keep up with the billing, and the retainer may be used for the last billing. Most experts bill on a monthly basis; however, the last minute designation often requires the expert to be paid every 10 days.
In conclusion, it is best for an attorney to employ an Expert Witness early in order to retain the best possible result for the client.