To become a finance expert witness, it is necessary to have qualifications in the financial field along with extensive experience and good communication skills. Expert witnesses can be called upon by either side in a trial to provide information that may prove or disprove allegations made in court. Experts in finance may be useful for financial litigation as well as cases where parties want to establish costs for the purpose of arguing for a high damage award.
The first step for a person who wants to become a finance expert witness is building up a career and a strong reputation in the finance industry. Expert witnesses can be accountants, financial analysts, executive officers, and other members of the industry. They typically have at least a master's degree and five years or more of experience in the industry. Some may focus on specialty areas of the industry, like derivatives or securities fraud.
Attorneys in search of expert witnesses look for people with impeccable qualifications and a good reputation. Someone who plans to become a finance expert witness should consider submitting articles to trade publications and journals in the field to establish her name and credentials. It can also help to be a board member at a regulatory or industry organization, and to consider going back to school for additional educational qualifications. Witnesses may be asked to present their credentials on the stand to establish their authority to speak on the topic, and the more credentials they have, the more impressive they will be.
With experience and qualifications, a finance professional can make it known that he is available as an expert witness. Some professional organizations supply lists of members who offer this service, and he can apply to be added to this list. Others may join expert witness organizations or referral agencies. Some may contact attorneys who work in the field to notify them. It can help to practice courtroom skills, as an expert witness needs to be not just knowledgeable, but persuasive.
The process to become a finance expert witness can take a long time. Every time the witness testifies, she will build up skills and make herself a stronger and more effective witness. It may be possible to eventually live on the fees from court appearances. However, it is important to remain active in the industry through work with organizations and publications to maintain witness credentials. A person who only testifies and does not actively work in finance may be viewed as less reliable by the jurors, as they may feel his information is outdated or he isn't as familiar with the industry as he should be.