Opposing Counsel & Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)


Is your curriculum vitae complete, accurate and current?

These attributes, while important in any resume, are paramount for expert witnesses.

As is true for most professionals, your CV is a marketing tool that communicates your qualifications, expertise and image to prospective clients. As an expert witness, it is additionally a vehicle used to establish or destroy your credibility.

Beyond the normal proofreading expected of any public document, examine your CV with the following questions in mind to avoid handing opposing counsel ammunition with which to discredit you and your testimony:

1. Are there gaps in your professional history? Be prepared to explain them.

man reading a book next a stack of books

Editing and updating your CV is essential to market yourself as an expert.

2. Are all honors, position titles and certifications accurately stated?
3. Are the names of associations and certifying organizations correct?
4. Are all certifications and memberships valid and current, if not noted as “former”
or “inactive?”
5. If you have included publications and presentations, have you listed ALL of them, for at least the last ten years? (The preceding ten years is the amount required for Federal Court by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26(2)B. You can also list more; just don’t pick and choose which ones to include.) Are the titles and dates accurate? Have you included all co-authors?
6. Have you been careful not to overstate any honors or to use self-serving wording to describe your accomplishments?
7. Have you verified the accuracy of any and all dates?
8. Have you deleted inappropriate, personal information such as spouse, children, hobbies, date of birth or Social Security number, that might have been standard on earlier, different usage formats?
9. Do you have more than one version of your CV, such as different versions for plaintiff and defense? – DON’T. The exceptions to having two CVs are if you need two different CVs to explain your history in operating two entirely different kinds of business or profession; and the use of an abbreviated resume titled a Profile or Biographical Sketch, not CV.
10. Have you included current and correct contact information?

In many cases, retaining counsel will have researched the facts of your CV before engaging your services. Rest assured, opposing counsel will also read your CV and will check anything and everything that could possibly be used to discredit you in the eyes of the judge and jury. Be truthful and state the complete facts to stay one step ahead of opposing counsel.

Excerpted from The Expert Witness Marketing Book by Rosalie Hamilton of Expert Communications

(click here to visit her website)