Appraisers in Litigation: 3 Expert Witness Trends Spotlighted

December 1, 2020

ASA has seen the need for expert witnesses surge and has been busy developing educational offerings to help appraisers become an expert Expert Witness. There is a particular skill set needed to testify in court and the following ASA courses will help valuation professionals interested in or retained for litigation matters learn those techniques.

1. Bulletproof Expert Witness Reports

In court, the weight of an expert witness is much greater than most others providing testimony, so it is crucial that reports are relevant, fully detailed, and understandable to an average audience.

Because of this, ASA partnered with SEAK, the leaders in Expert Witness Training, and is offering a full-day, virtual course on report writing on 2/11/21. This interactive How to Write a Bullet Proof Expert Witness Report workshop will teach students how to draft superior expert opinion reports and you will leave the class armed with an extensive, customized set of action steps to help you write more powerful, persuasive and defensible reports.

2. Effective Expert Depositions

The expert's deposition is usually the most significant part of a litigation matter because most cases settle before trial based on the lawyer's evaluation of the strength of the expert deposition testimony.

On 2/16/21, ASA is hosting its AR121: Giving an Effective Expert Deposition webinar. Our expert instructor, Brian P. Brinig, developed a program that covers the Ten Commandments for Success at Expert Depositions as well as the attorney's strategies for eliciting the best (or worst!) testimony from the opposing expert.  This class dives deep into knowing the opposing lawyer's techniques so that you will be the best expert for your opinion, and not a good expert for the opposition.

3. Expert Witness Communications

The appraiser in litigation must be aware of the legal privileges that apply to communications and properly document those communications. All communications with the client and attorney are discoverable, so conflicts must be considered and tracked before committing to an assignment. Engagement letters should be drafted with a view to necessary provisions and the fact that they will be produced in discovery and possibly used as a road map to deposition interrogation.

In addition to instructing AR121, Brian P. Brinig will also lead ASA’s newest webinar, AR123: Expert Witness Engagements: From First Contact through Payment on 5/4/21. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to define, summarize and explain the legal privileges applicable to appraisal work in litigation support and their effect on oral and written communications; identify and discuss the conflicts of interest in litigation related matters; and understand which cases should be accepted and which must be declined. In addition, attendees will be able to discuss and explain the strategies for initial communications with client and counsel; analyze engagement letter issues; outline file documentation procedures essential for litigation matters.

Our expert instructor for AR121 and AR123, Brian Peter Brinig, ASA, is an appraiser, a certified public accountant and non-practicing lawyer who has been performing business valuations and economic damages analyses for forty years. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Diego School of Law who founded a valuation firm in 1983 that was recently acquired by CBIZ-MHM, LLC. Brinig remains a Managing Director at CBIZ. Brian is the author of five technical books including Finance & Accounting for Lawyers, a legal textbook used as the basis for the graduate law class of the same title. Brian has testified as an economic expert witness in more than 100 jury trials across the United States in the last forty years.

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