Consulting Vs. Testifying

Understanding The Difference Between An Expert Witness And A Consultant

At Spencer Law Firm LLC, we offer the assistance of attorney Patti S. Spencer as a provider of both expert testimony and consulting services. While these two roles are similar in many ways and call for similar qualifications, there are some important differences between them.

  • Consulting involves advising an attorney or other professional on sophisticated legal matters. As a consultant, Ms. Spencer is frequently asked to review discovery requests and pleadings and provide advice on complex matters of estate, trust and tax law.
  • Testifying involves advising the court — and specifically the finder of fact — on issues that fall outside the expertise of the average person. Initially, this advice comes in the form of an expert report, and in-person testimony is only necessary if the matter proceeds to trial.

As a practical matter, there is some overlap between consulting and testifying, in that a person who is initially retained as an expert consultant may eventually be called upon to provide expert testimony. It is important to enter into any engagement with this possibility in mind.

Ms. Spencer has long been recognized as one of the foremost authorities on trust and estate issues in Pennsylvania and is nationally recognized as a lawyer, author and educator. She is frequently called upon to serve as both an expert witness and a consultant, and she is familiar with the unique considerations affecting her work in both of these important roles.

To discuss retaining Ms. Spencer's services as an expert witness or consultant, please contact SLF at our office in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at 717.207.7935 or by email.