There are several areas that a lawyer should explore in locating the right expert for its case. I recommend that a lawyer write down a few areas of its case before turning to a search engine or a professional expert witness company. Whether it be a partnership dispute, property management, brokerage dispute, or fiduciary responsibilities, the lawyer should narrow its questions in the interview.
The following, not in any order, that should be considered when doing a search:
Experience in Commercial Real Estate
It is essential that all past experience be limited only to commercial real estate. It is not essential that the expert experience be limited to certain aspects of commercial real estate, such as office space or retail space. Most commercial real estate has some commonality. If the matter is a breach of lease in a retail store or an office space, the issues may be connected. Don’t search for an expert who specializes in one of the categories of commercial real estate since you will eliminate many qualified experts.
These agencies may be the simplest of all searches but clearly not the best. These agencies collect data from all walks of life, from break laying to brain surgery. They vet their experts by a collection of CVs that they have in their inventory. Like anything else, you may be lucky to get a good expert, but a little more effort may find you the most appropriate expert for your case.
If you’re a sole practitioner, these agencies may work very well. On the other hand, if you are in a firm, ask around or call a friendly competitor and ask who they use.
Check out individual expert’s websites. Your homework should be easy this way.
Experience in the Business
Years in the business may provide vast amounts of knowledge that you may find useful. Do not be uncomfortable with gray hair; it sometimes provides the key to their success. Don’t be uncomfortable asking how many transactions they have performed or an estimate. Also, a key is if they are still practicing in the business! An expert who has not closed a transaction in the last three years may be a detriment in winning your case. You must consider strongly that they are still working, not just practicing as an expert.
CVs or Resumes
CVs that might be ten pages long may at first be impressive, but the history of one’s life can sometimes date the expert. The one that taught real estate at the college level 20 years ago is really not important—a real estate commissioner who now practice’s expert witness work is worthless.
The essence of a good expert is their ability to educate a judge and or a jury of how real estate is practiced “today” and the person who should be employed.
Experience, Experience, Experience
In real estate, you may have heard the saying location, location, and location. Now you want to deal with an expert. Knowledge here is critical; an expert must be on their toes and cannot answer the lawyer by saying, “I need to do some research in this area,” which is a killer. The expert knows the field and can hop around from question to question. Experience is the key for the professional expert.
Saving the best for last-The most important question!
Does the expert owns, or have owned, commercial real estate within the last few years. Owning commercial real estate is absolutely the best educational background an expert can have in its arsenal! Don’t forget this key element!
Contact Segal Commercial Today
Lee Segal is President of Segal Commercial and an Experienced Commercial Real Estate Litigation Expert Witness. Lee S. Segal is a recognized commercial and industrial real estate industry leader in Los Angeles with over 40 years of working in the California commercial real estate business including expert witness testimony. Contact Segal Commercial for a free consultation today!