Negotiate and execute a retention agreement with the expert witness
1) Make sure to negotiate and execute a retention agreement with the expert witness. Such agreement should contain a litigation budget through each phase of the case.
Require a budget from the expert witness
2) Get the expert witness to commit to a budget. Any cost conscious trial attorney should require a budget from the expert as part of the retention agreement.
Breakdown litigation budgets into separate phases
3) Litigation budgets can be broken down into phases:
(a) Initial review phase: Estimated time and cost to review file materials. If the expert must travel to a location to provide an opinion, travel costs, time and inspection time can easily be calculated.
(b) Discovery phase: During this phase, the expert must prepare a report or assist in preparing responses to expert interrogatories. The expert may also be required to give a deposition.
(c) Costs associated with testing and demonstration:
Costs associated with testing or demonstrations that the expert intends to present at trial must be included in the budget.
(d) Trial preparation and trial phase: This phase may involve preparation for trial testimony, attendance at trial, and testimony at trial.
Don't be afraid to hold the expert witness to the original cost estimates
4) Hold the expert witness to the original cost estimates.
Inform client of expert budget supplementation from unforeseen developments
5) Explain to your client that sometimes the unexpected occurs which requires additional work. Be receptive to the occasional need for expert budget supplementation based upon unforeseen developments.
Address amended or supplemental budgets in the retention agreement
6) Make sure that as an attorney, you have an understanding with your client and his expert as to the circumstances under which amended or supplemental budgets may be submitted, including all factors to be considered in approving them.
Maintaining trust and communication with your client
7) Maintain open and trusting communications with your client so that you can work together to control litigation costs while ensuring a successful outcome.