Expert assistance can be a valuable part of a criminal case, but it is important for attorneys to communicate expectations for the working relationship. We have drafted a sample expert engagement letter which outlines the basics of confidentiality, billing, scope of work, and report writing. This letter provides experts with a summary of an attorney’s expectations and aims to foster effective collaboration.
The letter explains that all information the expert learns while working on the case is confidential and privileged. Further, if anyone requests the information from the expert, the expert should refuse to divulge the information and contact the attorney. Additionally, it explains that confidentiality continues after the case is resolved. Also, the letter contains a basic explanation of funding for court-appointed experts. It directs experts to the IDS website for the correct invoicing forms and makes it clear that authorization limits should not be exceeded. Finally, the letter explains that an expert’s reporting should be discussed with the attorney.
This sample letter may be adapted to meet specific needs, and hopefully will help establish a realistic, open, and beneficial relationship between an attorney and an expert. Here is a link to the sample letter. The letter is also located on the experts page of the IDS forensics website.