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Marketing Tips for Expert Witnesses

What is an Expert Witness?

Expert witnesses are independent specialists whose job is to help courts and tribunals understand complex or technical evidence on a particular subject. Experts can appear in criminal, civil, family and disciplinary matters, where the evidence can be wide-ranging - from pest control to paediatrics, accountancy to air pollution, forensic science to foliage.

Each specialist has their own area of expertise, built up over many years of working in a particular, often very niche, field; one useful definition of an expert, from the Crown Prosecution Service, is someone who can “furnish the court with information likely to be outside the experience and the knowledge of a judge or jury”.

Specialist firms of expert witnesses have evolved covering subjects like forensic science, engineering and medicine. Other expert witnesses include individuals, either working solely as a court-going specialist or in conjunction with another role, such as in academia or the medical profession.

Given the large number of Experts available to the courts, what do lawyers look for when instructing the right one?

The Expert Witness Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that champions its worldwide expert members and the lawyers who instruct them, says:

“The ideal Expert Witness is a perfect blend of technical expertise, practical application and understanding.”

It goes on to list tips on instructing an expert witness, including researching potential experts, checking out their credentials, and evaluating their communication skills.

With this in mind, as an Expert Witness, what can you do to stand out from the competition?

Knowing that lawyers will do their research in advance, here are some useful tips to ensure you are found, and your expertise is clear for all to see:

  • Update your CV with relevant qualifications, training courses and case studies. If you have previously been instructed through word-of-mouth referrals, do those firms have your up-to-date details?
  • LinkedIn is an important business networking platform for professionals, giving you the opportunity to showcase your expertise and demonstrate thought leadership in your specialist field. In niche areas where expert witnesses are needed, LinkedIn is increasingly being used as a ‘search engine’ to find the right expert, so it is important to have your profile looking its best and fully up to date. Have you added a recent profile photograph? Have you got plenty of recommendations from industry specialists including solicitors and barristers? We have previously shared tips on getting LinkedIn recommendations.
  • Having a website and social media presence is vital, as most lawyers start their research online. Include video, where possible, to demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Make your CV easily available to download. Testimonials and case studies add social proof. Social media is a great way to stay ‘front of mind’ with your target audience, so when the time comes when your expert views are needed, you are top of the list.
  • Invest in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – if you have a website, is it easily ‘findable’? The more niche your specialism, the fewer other experts you are likely to be competing with, so the easier it will be to make you stand out online through SEO. Search engines want to serve up good quality links, so with just a few technical changes and a consistent content generation strategy, you can rank highly.
  • Write often on your topic of expertise. Blogs on your website and articles published in legal magazines can be wide-reaching. When writing, bear in mind what Google looks for when ranking pages (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness – or EEAT). Use content generation to demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership.
  • Offer to give a presentation either in person or online to lawyers interested in your specialist subject. It can be a refreshing change to the usual legal updates and help cement your name in their minds as the ‘go-to’ expert for your specialism.
  • Collaborate with other individuals, organisations and networks who share the same industry target audience. For example, if you are a neuro-radiologist, explore delivering a joint CPD event with a barristers’ chambers that specialises in brain injury for the benefit of catastrophic injury lawyers. Other opportunities to collaborate include white papers, case studies, podcasts and videos.

Beyond qualifications: showcasing your expertise

While you may have the best qualifications in your industry or the newest piece of analytical equipment on the market, lawyers are more interested in what you will say in your report and how you will perform in court.

With a well-thought-out marketing strategy, you can promote your subject knowledge and skills as an expert witness. Highlight cases you’ve worked on and where you’ve made a difference. How did you solve a problem the court had in understanding complex medical records? What did you say to persuade the jury that the evidence supported one person’s account of events over the alternative? Can you demonstrate impartiality and an awareness of the effects of bias?

Quality, quality, quality

Experts working in the criminal courts in England and Wales are facing additional governance following the introduction of the Forensic Science Regulator’s statutory Code of Practice in October 2023. Quality management systems, accreditation and compliance (or not) with the Code are the current hot topics among experts. Not all experts, disciplines and ‘Forensic Science Activities’ require compliance at present, but further consultations are ongoing. Experts must keep abreast of the changes and abide by the new rules.

Marketing help for Expert Witnesses

With industry developments, an ever-changing regulatory landscape and the challenge of meeting court deadlines, you might feel that marketing always gets pushed further down the ‘to-do’ list. If you don’t have the time or the expertise (after all, you’re good at what you’re good at!), why not outsource marketing to us?

Cal Partners is an award-winning professional services marketing agency that works with accountants, lawyers, healthcare professionals and expert witnesses. We know the arena you work in: our team includes a former solicitor and a former forensic scientist, and we can take away the headache of having to ‘do it all’.

Get in touch with Cal Partners

Call us on 0333 050 6015, email or book a free consultation.

About the author

Alison O'Neill

Account Manager, Alison, is a former Forensic Scientist who moved into professional services marketing in 2008 and is a Chartered Marketer and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM).

Marketing for Professional Services

Cal Partners

The go-to strategic marketing partner for ambitious professional services