Hiring an Expert Witness or Testimony Consultant

Expert Witness and Testimony Services
by Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC
Self-Love Recovery Institute – President/CEO

Psychotherapists and other mental health practitioners are frequently called upon as expert witnesses in disputes involving emotional distress/trauma, mental illness, child custody disputes, and other disputed mental health-related phenomena. In such cases, their ability to provide persuasive and credible information/testimony to a judge and/or jury often determines the success of a specific legal proceeding.

To achieve the best outcome, expert witnesses need to communicate confidently, competently, and compassionately. Unless the expert can put the interviewee at ease and establish a rapport within the first few minutes, the task of undertaking the thorough assessment—which is required to underpin expert witness testimony—will be frustrating (expertcourtreports.co, 2022).

The duty of an expert witness is to provide the court with an honest, impartial opinion on matters within his or her area of expertise that are being disputed. Often, a convincing expert opinion can lead to settlement negotiations or early resolution of the claim (ellisinjurylaw.com, 2022).

Expert witnesses are a regular and integral part of both criminal and civil litigation. Statistics indicate litigants rely on expert testimony in over half of all criminal cases and much as 80% of all civil trials. Mental health practitioners may be called to testify about matters including whether a party has the mental capacity to stand trial, whether a patient has suffered a psychological or emotional injury, or whether a criminal defendant possessed the requisite mental faculties to establish criminal intent (orgithealth.com, 2022).

In the role of the expert witness, the mental health practitioner’s task is to "shine the light" of clinical knowledge on the legal question, "assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence, or to determine a fact in issue." The "trier of fact" may be a jury, or with a bench trial, a judge.

Expert Qualifications

Being able to plan carefully to ensure that all the relevant information is considered during the interview session takes skill and experience. It is crucial that your expert witness is knowledgeable about the circumstances of your case, as they will collaborate with the legal team to strengthen it by assisting jurors in comprehending difficult and nuanced facts, giving the impression of neutrality, and providing credibility.

To testify based on their opinion, an expert must be appropriately qualified. It is not sufficient that an expert witness has a degree in a general field that is required for the case for which they are retained. To qualify as an expert, they must have an entire resume of education, training, and experience sufficient to demonstrate that they have deep knowledge and understanding of the issues pertinent to the matter at hand.

The more qualified the expert is, the more persuasive their opinion will be to a judge or jury. Many cases turn on the judge or jury, weighing the relative merits of the conclusions offered by competing experts. The more specific the witness’s expertise, the better. A practitioner with publications concerning the field on which his expertise is being used is more persuasive and convincing than one without it.

An expert’s qualifications will be based on:

  • Credentials
  • Consistency
  • Preparedness
  • Attention to detail
  • Confidence
  • Communication skills,
  • Formal education
  • Professional training
  • Years of experience in the field
  • Publications
  • Experience as an expert in other matters

Why Ross Rosenberg?

An expert witness must demonstrate that they have gained specialized expertise in the topics they are testifying about through study or experience. In Ross's case, his impressive resume alone is indicative of his expert claim. Notwithstanding, his 34-year diverse psychotherapy career and his various areas of expertise and specialties that spawned his educational, training and keynote speaking work has established him as a global expert in a variety of topics.

In addition, his bestselling and critically acclaimed “Human Magnet Syndrome” books have sold over 150,000 copies in 12 languages. The 23 million video views and 235,000 subscribers on his YouTube Channel further show his various areas of expertise.

Ross's court testimonies date back to 1989 – his first position out of graduate school. Ross has represented various clients, private agencies, and even the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in court. His success is attributed to his quick thinking, being cool under fire, communicating with comfort and ease, understanding of the mechanics of his role, and expansive knowledge of mental health subjects, especially the areas in which is considered an expert.

Ross has the unique ability to simplify complicated mental health information in a way that is informing, interesting, and specifically compelling. Ross’s credibility is easily established as the depth of understanding of clinical matters—both general and specific. The sheer diversity of his career, combined with his drive to learn and master concepts, theories, and clinical practices, and later to teach it to others, engenders automatic trust and credibility. Because of the diversity of his background, he is not hamstrung by the insular nature of some experts.

Although he is not an attorney, his familiarity with the legal system dramatically benefits his clients and attorneys. If you are seeking an articulate and effective mental health expert witness, please visit the Expert Witness and Testimony Services page on our website or contact us at help@selfloverecovery.com.

References

When Can a Psychiatrist Serve as an Expert Witness in a Case? When Can a Psychiatrist Serve as an Expert Witness in a Case? orbithealth.com 1/25/21

The Role of Expert Opinion in the Litigation Process July 3, 2013/in Legal Articles braininjurylaw.ca/

Being an Effective Psychiatric Expert Witness, November 1, 2007 psychiatrictimes.com

ABOUT ROSS

Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, is Self-Love Recovery Institute’s CEO and primary contributor. His internationally recognized expertise includes pathological narcissism, narcissistic abuse, and attachment trauma. Ross’s “Codependency Cure™ Treatment Program” provides innovative and results-oriented treatment.

Ross’s expert educational and inspirational seminars have earned him international acclaim, including his 23 million YouTube video views and 235K subscribers. In addition to being featured on national TV and radio, his “Human Magnet Syndrome” books sold over 150K copies and are published in 12 languages. Ross provides expert testimony/witness services.

More about Ross and his educational and inspirational work can be found at www.SelfLoveRecovery.com.

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