What to Look for in Trial ConsultantTrial consultants, on the whole, come to the profession from a wide variety of academic and work experiences. Consider the following when you are looking for a consultant.
Academic Background: Consultants bring insights and skills useful to litigation based on their considerable experience for formal study in persuasion, argumentation, public speaking, theater, graphic design, human development, personality, verbal, nonverbal and behavioral communication, group dynamics, decision making, attitude formation and statistics (among many others). Be sure to ask a prospective consultant about the areas of social science and other academic disciplines that best inform their own approaches.
A graduate degree in his or her field may also suggest that a consultant has additional knowledge and training in research design and analysis. But, an advanced degree alone is not indicative of competence, skill or experience.
Experience: There is no substitute for experience in litigation, and a seasoned consultant will not need a win/loss record to demonstrate depth in the field. Instead, you can expect an initial conversation with a consultant to produce meaningful insights about issues that are specific to you case.
Many of ASTC's members provide a variety of services and some offer specialized expertise in one or more practice areas (e.g., Jury Selection, Mock Trial/Focus Groups, Change of Venue Surveys, Witness Preparation, etc.). Be sure to ask a prospective consultant to describe if he or she has a specialty.
Professional Membership: The American Society of Trial Consultants is the only nationally recognized organization that was founded in pursuit of developing the profession of trial consulting. ASTC members agree to follow our Professional Code, which includes Professional Standards, Practice Guidelines, and Ethical Considerations for our practices on the whole and within discreet practice areas. Expect your consultant to be familiar with the Code and ask questions about how he or she applies it to his or her own work.
How to Locate a Consultant: You can find consultants who are members of ASTC by going to the Consultant Locator.
(Charlotte Morris, a long-time member and contributor to the Society provided the information above to ASTC).