Criteria for Assessing the Need for an Economic Expert

Consider the Value of Consulting an Economic Expert

In complex legal matters involving economic harm or damages, the input of an economist can bring clarity to the crucial aspects of your case. The effectiveness of engaging an expert relies on several factors, including the factual foundation, the legal theory supporting liability and damages, and selecting the right expert at the appropriate time.

Engaging an Economic Expert is Highly Beneficial When:

  1. Intricate litigation requires analyzing the impact of actions on businesses or consumers, or assessing damages. Economic experts are commonly relied upon in cases involving antitrust, price-fixing, or intellectual property disputes. They define relevant markets and evaluate the competitive effects of contested actions. For example, in breach-of-contract cases, an economic expert can provide essential economic context regarding market developments, framing the dispute related to the alleged breach. They can also offer opinions on causation, mitigation, or other damages-related matters. Economic experts possess unique credentials and expertise that strengthen the foundation of your argument, going beyond factual witnesses or legal arguments alone.

  2. Sufficient time allows for thorough analysis of relevant data and documents. Ideally, involving an economic expert prior to the discovery process, or even before filing a complaint for plaintiffs, ensures alignment between legal arguments and economic reasoning. This early engagement provides access to all necessary resources for the expert’s analysis. If timing doesn’t permit this, it’s still advisable to build comprehensive expert reports over time, allowing the expert ample opportunity to analyze facts and data, leading to robust conclusions.

  3. Your arguments rely on analyzing extensive, complex, or disorganized data. Economic experts often work with specialized support staff skilled in cleaning and analyzing data, even when it’s poorly organized. For example, in litigation concerning the impact of challenged practices on prices or market trends, hiring an economic expert to explain, research, and analyze how economic data relate to the contested conduct ensures a more rigorous and defensible end product.

  4. Additional support staff is needed for document review and research. Economic experts typically have a team of support staff with specialized expertise. They can efficiently identify critical documents necessary for analysis or other economic arguments you wish to present.

  5. The opposing party is expected to engage an economic expert. Your expert can assist in preparing a rebuttal to the opposition’s expert report and help develop strategies for cross-examination during depositions and trial.

Engaging an Economic Expert is Less Effective When:

  1. There is a misalignment in resource allocation between your client and the project’s scope. It’s crucial to ensure agreement among you, your client, and potential experts regarding the scope and cost of the expert’s work. This includes determining the extent of analyses to be conducted and understanding which economic points may be supported or intentionally left unsupported.

  2. The expert’s prior record, whether in written form or through testimony, may contradict your legal opinions or introduce inconsistencies. Thoroughly research a potential expert’s historical record on relevant issues to address any concerns early on if you decide to retain their services.

  3. Your client’s expectations exceed the reasonable capabilities of an expert. Economic experts specialize in specific topics and problem-solving approaches. Requesting an expert to offer an opinion on a topic beyond their full comprehension or to support an argument that contradicts the evidence can be detrimental to both your case and the expert’s reputation. For instance, selecting a macroeconomics expert to assess a competitive issue in an antitrust case may not be the most suitable choice.

Uncertain Whether Your Case Requires an Economic Expert?

Many economic experts offer an initial, high-level pro bono analysis and feedback on the merits of your case. Seeking the opinion of an economist can help you focus on the crucial issues, even uncovering aspects you may not have previously considered.

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