Expert witnesses are used in a variety of trials. You’ve probably seen their testimony yourself. If you’ve never actually hired one, however, you might be at a loss when it comes to getting started. Where can you find an expert witness? What criteria should you be using to make your selection? Here are just a few ideas.

1. Ask for Referrals and Recommendations

This is the easiest way to find an expert witness. Ask your colleagues. Even if they’ve never used one before, they might have a friend of a friend who has, and your shared networking efforts can get you the witness that you need. As a bonus, since they come recommended by someone you know, you can start things off with a higher level of trust than if you’d hired a complete stranger.

2. Dig Into Their Background

To contradict the above, however, you shouldn’t blindly believe everything that you’re told by an expert witness. You’ll need to do your homework and see if they’re telling the truth. You might also want to take the time to look for skeletons in their closet; if they have a criminal record that will negatively affect their image in front of a jury, it might not matter how impressive their credentials seem. You don’t want to jeopardize your case because of a past DUI.

3. Host a Mock Trial

Once you’ve selected the right individual for the job, it’s time to put them through their paces and fine-tune their expert witness testimony. Use a camera to record, analyze and dissect their performance. Let them watch it as well. Offer suggestions for how they can improve, and host as many mock trials as necessary until you’re satisfied that they’ll play well in court.

These are just a few things to keep in mind as you search for an expert witness. They can make or break your case, so try not to rush your decision. Even if you’re feeling nervous about a looming trial, it’s better to take your time and find the perfect witness rather than one who is merely “good enough.”