Michael Gillett will discuss the role of consulting and testifying experts in the different stages of a lawsuit based on his five rules for experts: 1) Agree on a clear assignment. Early on, you and the lawyer need to mutually agree on what you are going to do. The task might evolve with time, but it must always be understood by both of you. 2) Know the standard for expert testimony. Different courts have different standards, and for your testimony to be admissible, it must meet the standard applicable in the jurisdiction. 3) Help your lawyer understand the issues. Most civil litigators know a little about a lot. They appreciate it when you improve their depth of knowledge about the work you are doing. 4) Be objective and impartial. You are not being hired to be an advocate; that’s the lawyer’s job. Instead, you need you to be a credible, knowledgeable professional. 5) Communicate with real words. Juries and judges don’t understand the jargon that is the everyday language among you and your colleagues. For your work to have an impact, is must be presented in terms they do understand.
Michael B. Gillett
The Gillett Law Firm
Michael B. Gillett is an attorney with The Gillett Law Firm in Seattle, Washington. He has a B.A. in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine and his law degree from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, California. He has been practicing law since 1980. Over the years, Mr. Gillett has been a civil litigator, congressional aide, and lobbyist. In each of these capacities, he has worked with scores of consulting technical experts, including arborists. In 2005, Mr. Gillett established his current solo firm, representing individuals and small businesses, including tree care companies. His practice focuses on tree law, boundary disputes, real estate litigation, environmental contamination, workplace safety, and administrative proceedings.