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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Keeping Current and Competent

Experts who undertake the challenge of expert testimony have an obligation to stay current in their fields of expertise. They cannot rely on outdated theories, methods, concepts, procedures or equipment.

Whether an expert intends to pursue a forensic witness career or is called upon incidentally for that service, the expert must maintain and improve his current credentials. At the very least, the expert owes that obligation and duty to those who rely on his opinion.

The process of preparing a case for trial or hearing is a learning exercise. Because the expert must examine many aspects of the case, he or she must become competent and stay current in the forensic investigation's subject matter. A number of tasks will help the expert stay current:  

  • Reading professional literature.
  • Being active in the field of expertise.
  • Continuing education/certification.
  • Research and publishing.
  • Teaching, lecturing and consulting.
  • Attending seminars.
  • Attending professional conferences.
  • Testifying.

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