Litigation Support: Hire Forensic Accountants Earlier to Build a Stronger Case
- J.P. Tujague
As an attorney, you know the success of your case often comes down to your effective use of expert witnesses. And since nearly all litigation has a monetary aspect to it, one key expert witness you need in your corner is an experienced forensic accountant.
You already know that forensic accountants prepare analyses of lost profits and other quantifications of damages, and they testify to their opinions regarding those damages. But did you also know that engaging forensic accountants earlier in the life cycle of the case can add far more value? If you wait until the last days of discovery to bring in a forensic accountant, then you might miss the window of time to request vital pieces of the puzzle that would have reinforced your client’s case.
Hiring forensic accountants sooner can also save you money in the long run. When forensic accountants are involved from the beginning of the discovery phase (or sooner), they know exactly how to locate the data they need, so they can spend their time more efficiently and effectively, and they require less of your time answering follow-up questions.
At the end of the day, engaging forensic accountants sooner helps you collect better, more relevant evidence to strengthen your case and help your client achieve the best outcome.
Forensic accountants can deliver value for your client in ways far beyond rendering an opinion through an expert report. Here are six ways forensic accountants can help strengthen your case:
When engaging a forensic accountant as an expert witness, you need someone who is accustomed to testifying in court and has a track record of taking volumes of complex data, boiling it down to its essence, and communicating it clearly and simply.
It’s also important to find someone who will work in sync with you and your legal team. The expert witness is independent and not an advocate for your client, but that does not mean you should just send off the data and wait to receive their opinion. You should communicate with your expert throughout the legal process about what’s most important and where they can spend their time most effectively.
At the end of the day, a forensic accountant’s opinions have to meet the standard of reasonable certainty, and that means they need the right information to form those opinions. Clear and consistent communication is important to achieve a favorable outcome for your client.
Remember: Engaging forensic accountants early in litigation allows you to identify potential risks and weaknesses in your case. At the same time, waiting too late to engage a forensic accountant can mean that you’re leaving money on the table. During the first days after your client retains you to discuss the merits of the case, seek out a forensic accountant to discuss how they can help you, the type of information they’d like to see, and how much of their time they expect the case to require. Reach out to CRI’s team of forensic accountants when you’re ready to get started on the right path.
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