Bates News - 12-04-18
New Book On Becoming a Financial Industry Expert From Bates Group’s Michael Weiner Now Available
Renowned Bates Expert Michael D. Weiner discusses his newly published book, In My Expert Opinion: Becoming an Effective Expert in the Financial Services Industry.
Mr. Weiner recently retired after years of service in the financial services industry as a governmental and private attorney, a legal and compliance executive in the Chicago futures and options exchange (CME), as a brokerage house founder, and for the last many years, a full-time consultant and expert witness for Bates Group, assisting counsel in the complex world of financial litigation.
Working as an expert witness, he saw "the good, the bad and the ugly" in his counterparts, and from that experience grew a desire to aid both aspiring experts and their counsel. In My Expert Opinion was written to train experts in the positive aspects of expert witness work, to point out the pitfalls, and to provide a roadmap to a successful career.
Bates Group: What prompted you to write this book?
Michael Weiner: At some point in my retirement, I looked back and realized that I had a wealth of experience that might be useful to an aspiring or less-experienced expert and to the counsel that may want to hire that expert. In addition, I could recall numerous examples, based on those experiences, which would be good teaching tools. So writing a "primer" was born from a desire to give back to the financial expert community, to assist those who might be thinking of trying the profession. But, I had little understanding of what might lie ahead. In my 22 years as a testifying expert, I had seen the full range of opposing experts: from the excellent and articulate to the cringeworthy, who lost cases due to preventable flaws in testimony. I felt that certain aspects of preparing winning testimony could be learned with direction and practice. That was the real motivation for the book. At the same time, Bates was actively working to improve its expert training program, and I was asked to help in the endeavor to prepare aspiring experts to get up to speed. Thus, the book began as an outline to serve as training material for Bates experts. As I began to prepare my thoughts, the outline became more and more extensive, so much so that it was too complicated to present in that format. The outline morphed into a white paper which then grew into a book.
BG: How is this book helpful to experts and clients in their practice?
MW: I have found that virtually everyone who has presented him or herself as a financial expert is, in fact, a substantive expert in his or her own field. That is a starting point, but it’s not the key to success as a testifying expert or even as a successful consultant in the financial services industry. Knowing the substance of one's field is a foundation for a successful career, but it must be shaped with the tools to assist counsel and client to obtain a favorable outcome. The purpose of the book is to help apply the tools to that foundation and give real-life pointers on how to be of maximum assistance to counsel. Common sense is one aspect, but for those who are unfamiliar with the nuances of the litigation process, there is so much more. In addition, my desire was to assist not only aspiring or inexperienced experts, but to work hand in hand with counsel who employs experts. Counsel will learn something of the expert world and will gain insight into the preparation of an expert with the aid of In My Expert Opinion.
BG: What are some of the key topics the book covers? Any interesting “war stories?”
MW: I have laid out fourteen "Essential Rules" for the successful expert. The majority of the book is spent on detailing how those rules apply, when they apply, and how best to use those rules in practice. In addition, I found that there are certain characteristics of a successful expert; I explain eleven such characteristics in detail. For example, one such characteristic is being able to survive cross-examination, and I go into great detail on how to do so not only to "survive" but to thrive. There are also practical tips such as how to bill clients, how to make the best use of travel, and how and when to integrate oneself into counsel's team. In essence, the book is a roadmap to a successful career, but since every expert who reads it has differing degrees of experience or confidence, no two people may get the same education. The book is filled with "war stories." I labeled them "Personal Asides," and felt that they were the best way to illustrate the points being made. In that way, my personal experience was directly relevant to the subject being discussed. Many stories were omitted due to being too personal or identifiable; those may be for a second book.
BG: Now that you have completed this book, what are your plans? Speaking, consulting, another book?
MW: I'd like to find a way to integrate the book into CLEs, to get it into the world of law schools and law firms. I am going to try to make the book and speaking about the book a part of the broader attorney/expert experience.
For more information about In My Expert Opinion, click here.