The Growing Need for Expert Witnesses Across All Kinds of Litigation

More lawsuits mean more opportunities for expert witnesses in all industries and specialties.

Expert Witnesses for All Kinds of Litigation

Erin Quinn-Kong

March 19, 2019 10:55 AM

According to data from the United States Courts, there were more than 350,000 filings for civil and criminal cases in 2018—and that number is slightly down from the year before. With such a massive number of lawsuits in this country (nearly 1,000 each day), it’s no surprise that expert witnesses are in high demand.

“It’s hard to imagine litigating a case that is anything but the most routine without a de facto expert,” says Jay Levine, a partner at the law firm Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP in Washington, D.C., where he is co-chair of the firm's Antitrust Practice Group. “Lawyer arguments are not evidence. Expert witnesses can analyze the case and state their opinion.”

Levine, whose nearly 30-year litigation experience has covered a variety of industries, including agriculture, health care, pharmaceuticals, and consumer products, says he has noticed there is a greater need for expert witnesses now than even 10 or 15 years ago. “There’s more technology, and people are becoming more specialized in their careers,” he says. “You can find a brain surgeon who only operates on the left temporal lobe if you need to.”

Expert witnesses come from all industries and specialties, from super-niche to more common pursuits. Whether you’re litigating a case on pharmaceuticals, medical malpractice, patent infringement, securities fraud, or anything in between, an expert witness can play a crucial role in breaking down the ins and outs of the complicated industry for the jury. “You’re asking six to 12 people who don’t know anything about an industry to decide the fate of your company,” Levine points out. “It’s an important job, so the right credentials and right demeanor are critical.”

Richard Kaletsky, a self-employed safety consultant, has testified as an expert witness about 65 times in court, by deposition, and at arbitration. Prior to becoming an expert witness, he worked with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for 20 years and was the safety director for a factory before that. His areas of expertise include safety hazards encountered in the workplace, machine safeguarding, and emergency egress.

Kaletsky cites a variety of reasons for someone with expertise to become an expert witness. “When I present a case, I present proper facts and try to connect things,” he says.

Like all expert witnesses, Kaletsky first has to go through a large amount of case evidence, which can include everything from police reports, to OSHA citations, to photos and surveillance videos, to witness statements. From there, he writes up his expert report. While some expert witnesses turn in reports upwards of 200 pages long, Kaletsky prefers to keep his short. “Mine are very tight,” he says. “I try to knock out any ambiguity, narrow it down, not open any doors.”

Kaletsky has one rule he always abides by: never oversell. From not working on industries he doesn’t specialize in, to acknowledging on the witness stand when he doesn’t have all the answers, he is always honest and frank. That rule has served him well: The biggest case Kaletsky worked on resulted in a $3.6 million settlement.

For litigators like Levine, likeability is also a key factor for expert witnesses. “You need the credentials to wow the jury, but they also have to like you,” he says. “Given how much is at stake, you want to find the right people. Expert witnesses are like your clean-up hitter. They are trying to wrap up the story and apply their analysis.”

Kaletsky agrees. “An expert witness has to paint a picture for the jury,” he says. “But it can’t be done just using technical words; the jury has to understand you. You’re not painting a Picasso, it’s more like a Norman Rockwell.”

[RELATED: China nominations now open]

Whether you prefer the baseball or art analogy, top-notch expert witnesses are a key component to any case. Finding the perfect one, who is both an expert in the appropriate area and has that likeability factor, takes a lot of time and effort. But the payoff is worth it.


Erin Quinn-Kong writes for GLG, a platform that connects lawyers with expert witnesses. She’s the former editor-in-chief of Austin Monthly and was an editor at Allure and Us Weekly. Erin has written for a number of publications, including The Alcade,, and Woman’s Day.

Related Articles

Protecting Small Business Owners: Trial Experts Connick Law LLC Notoriously Successful with Fire Litigation

by Justin Smulison

When small business owners become the target of insurance companies in fire-related lawsuits, hiring a firm with a reputation for understanding the science of fire suppression trials can save their livelihoods.

Gold Indoor Sprinkler Heads on Red Background

Will Recent Boeing Settlements Create Tailwinds In Corporate Law?

by Justin Smulison

Prominent litigation against Boeing is setting a precedent of accountability, professionalism and commitment among company boards as well as ushering ESG further into the courtroom to help monitor and prevent safety issues.

Recent Boeing Settlements and Corporate Law

Colorado's Best Lawyers 2022

by Best Lawyers

Our 2022 Colorado's Best Lawyers publication features top-ranked legal talent in Boulder, Denver and Western Colorado.

Colorado's Best Lawyers 2022

Newly Launched COVID-19 Litigation Project Offers Open Access To Pandemic-Related Court Judgments From Over 70 Countries

by Sara Collin

A worldwide database of COVID-19 cases is uniting more than 70 countries as judges, lawmakers and lawyers continue to navigate pandemic related litigation and the ways in which it’s evolving amid year three.

COVID-19 Worldwide Litigation Project

Look for the Zoom Label

by Anne R. Yuengert and Matthew C. Lonergan

Will the virtual platforms that got such a boost during the pandemic replace how you interact with your employees, unions, and lawyers?

Virtual Platforms Replacing Work Interactions

Discovery in the Time of COVID-19

by H. Barber Boone

The pandemic has affected the vital process of legal discovery in ways both good and bad. Which changes are likely to become widely accepted in the years ahead?

The Impact of COVID-19 on E-Discovery

Busting a Trust

by Joseph Marrs

The rules governing trusts and asset distribution are often much more flexible than many might assume. Here’s a primer.

Rules Governing Trusts and Asset Distribution

The Next Chapter

by Patrick M. Shelby

Among its uncountable other disruptions, the pandemic upended U.S. bankruptcy procedures. Congressional relief, legislative changes, amended legal provisions: What lies ahead for those looking to file?

COVID-19's Impacts on Bankruptcy Procedures

Phoning It In

by Alyson M. St. Pierre, Ashley C. Pack and Crystal S. Wildeman

It’s not easy for employers to weigh requests from employees to work from afar, even in the wake of the pandemic. Considerations include COVID-19, vaccinations, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the nature of the job itself.

Employer Considerations for Teleworking

Compelled to Compete

by Ashish Mahendru

Courts and legislatures—and now the White House—are taking an increasingly dim view of noncompete employment agreements, a development the pandemic has quickened. What can employers do to protect their confidential information?

Protection for Employers Beyond Noncompetes

Meeting Halfway

by Julia B. Meister

To resolve family and business disputes including wills, trusts, estates and more, mediation is often a more effective, gentler and cheaper option than litigation.

Mediation to Resolve Wills, Trusts, Estates

Look Out Below

by Mary Jo Larson

Employee 401(k) and other pension plans that include company stock can be a financial minefield. What’s a responsible fiduciary to do to lessen the risk of a plummeting share price—and the risk of a subsequent “stock-drop” lawsuit from aggrieved workers?

Navigating Employee 401(k) and Pension Plans

Family Law – Sometimes All in the Family

by Justin Smulison

Led by a father-and-son team of Family Law lawyers and trial advocates, with the support and assistance of family members, Blevans & Blevans, LLP continues its tradition of excellence serving the Northern California Bay Area in 2020 and beyond.

Blevans & Blevans

Achieving Justice For Essential Workers

by Justin Smulison

Patrick Regan of Regan Zambri Long describes how the recent resolution of a corporate negligence case brought closure to survivors of a fatal 2016 apartment building explosion.

Patrick Regan Best Lawyers 2021

Is It Live . . . Or Is It Virtual?

by Adrian L. Bastianelli III, Kevin J. O'Connor, Paulo Flores and Robert S. Peckar

Mediation via Zoom is just one of the legal-industry oddities the pandemic has wrought. Here’s a cheat sheet for how to make it work for you—and some thoughts on whether it’s here to stay.

Virtual Mediation

Equal to the Task

by Joyce D. Edelman

Fighting for gender equity in the law firm can seem like the very definition of a thankless task. But you just might find yourself able to make great strides.

Gender Equity in the Workplace

Trending Articles

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power

by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees

by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

The U.S. Best Lawyers Voting Season Is Open

by Best Lawyers

The voting season for the 31st edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and the 5th edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America is officially underway, and we are offering some helpful advice to this year’s voters.

Golden figures of people standing on blue surface connected by white lines

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States

by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

2021 Best Lawyers: The Global Issue

by Best Lawyers

The 2021 Global Issue features top legal talent from the most recent editions of Best Lawyers and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch worldwide.

2021 Best Lawyers: The Global Issue

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom

by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023

by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2024 Launch

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce The Best Lawyers in Australia™ for 2023, including the top lawyers and law firms from Australia.

Australian Parliament beside water at sunset

The Upcycle Conundrum

by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

Inflation Escalation

by Ashley S. Wagner

Inflation and rising costs are at the forefront of everyone’s mind as we enter 2023. The current volatile market makes it more important than ever to understand the rent escalation clauses in current and future commercial lease agreements.

Suited figure in front of rising market and inflated balloon

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers

by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

A Celebration of Excellence: The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024 Awards

by Best Lawyers

As we embark on the 18th edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™, we are excited to highlight excellence and top legal talent across the country.

Abstract image of red and white Canada flag in triangles

Announcing The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2024

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce the landmark 15th edition of The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ for 2024, including the exclusive "Law Firm of the Year" awards.

Sky view of South Africa town and waterways

Best Lawyers Voting Is Now Open

by Best Lawyers

Voting has begun in several countries across the globe, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. Below we offer dates, details and answers to voting-related questions to assist with the voting process.

Hands holding smartphone with five stars above phone

8 Different Types of Criminal Defenses in Law

by Best Lawyers

Learn about the different types of criminal defenses available in law, including innocence, self-defense, insanity and more. Protect your rights today.

Silver handcuffs laying on finger printed papers