Having now spent well over a decade helping attorneys with all kinds of litigation identify and retain testifying expert witnesses, we know firsthand that sometimes there are only a few people in the world with the sought "just-right" mix of professional credentials and specific technology-at-issue experience. Unfortunately, technical fit is not enough to excel as a testifier.
The very best expert witnesses are personable, prepared, and persuasive. Even a highly qualified and experienced technology expert can come up short in the testifying role, if they lack these three additional qualities. Thus it's important to consider personality as well as technical expertise when selecting a testifying expert witness.
A personable expert witness has charisma and is able to use it to offer a gentle education of the judge and jury by simplifying--without loss of accuracy--the most complex concepts by breaking them down into understandable nuggets, thereby delivering the information in a friendly and non-condescending manner.
Effective communication is a key skill, and the best software expert witnesses have mastered it. They can effortlessly translate software and technical jargon into layman's terms, bridging the gap between the tech-savvy and the needs of litigants. When you're selecting your expert witness, consider their ability to communicate without causing a 'deer in the headlights' look among the jurors.
A personable software expert knows that most people have no idea how code functions. And the expert has the patience and empathy to address concerns and questions, turning the courtroom into an arena where jurors feel naturally able to take in the key information from a friendly teacher. This can go a long way in making the most technical testimony relatable.
A testifying expert witness who takes the time to be well-prepared is an integral part of your legal team and a key building block for courtroom success. They help steer your case to victory through case-specific preparation that allows them to handle questions and challenges from the opposing side with ease because they are well acquainted with the most contentious issues.
A well-prepared software expert witness takes the time to study the details and nuances of the technology to deeply understand how the product infringes (or doesn't infringe) the intellectual property of the other side. In their preparations, the best experts dive deep into software source code and technical documents, perform reverse engineering to test hypotheses, and work with the legal team to relate the technical details back to the legal arguments.
Prepared experts are not just ready with their facts; they're also ready to defend them. They anticipate the challenges they might face during cross-examination, remaining composed and unshaken in the face of the storm.
To be successful in their expert reports and in the courtroom, an expert witness must not only be able to present and explain facts. The best experts also have the skills to persuade; to help triers of fact both understand and also believe in their analysis and conclusions.
Persuasive technology experts have a knack for simplifying the complex. They can distill technical concepts into straightforward ideas, ensuring that the jury grasps their points clearly and concisely. A persuasive expert can weave a compelling narrative from technical details. They take the details of your theory and explain them in a relatable and memorable summary.
Of course, personality is not the only factor that is important in selecting an expert witness to testify in your litigation. The following are additional considerations that should be made when selecting a software expert in particular:
- Industry Experience: A seasoned expert with a rich work history in the relevant subject area can bring credible insights to the table. Their practical experience (aka “street-cred”) in software development, patent disputes, or related fields can provide a real-world perspective that boosts the credibility of their testimony.
- Legal Knowledge: A successful software expert witness has not only mastered the software field, but also understands the legal framework around it. They know how the law applies to software and technology, offering insights on the legal landscape and precedents.
- Effective Communication Skills: Your expert witness should be a master communicator, both in writing and speaking. They must be able to produce clear and well-structured reports, and when they testify, they can convincingly explain their findings with clarity.
- Availability and Responsiveness: The most effective software expert is one who is available! Your expert should be readily available to work with your legal team. This includes being responsive to your needs and timelines, ensuring they can effectively contribute to the case.
The ideal software expert witness isn’t just good on paper. While specialized knowledge plays a significant role to the expert’s qualifications and makes their testimony credible, the messenger can be as important as the message in the courtroom environment. When you discover an expert with these traits, you're securing an expert witness who is also a capable consultant on the technical complexities.
Hire the Right Experts
When you are searching for an expert in software, you need more than just a person with an education and experience that matches the technology at issue. It's also important to find a personable and well-prepared expert who is able to connect with the judge or jury while being persuasive.
Barr Group's pre-vetted electronics and software expert witnesses provide experienced and unbiased source code reviews, expert reports and testimony for product liability, patent infringement, software copyright, and trade secrets litigation involving computer-based technology and software. HIRE AN EXPERT