- Knowledge of legal ethics, and legal standards for attorney fee awards. The expert must have a familiarity, awareness, and understanding gained through study of legal ethics and legal standards for attorney fee awards. A reasonable attorney fee is a matter that involves both legal ethics and also the considerable body of law on the legal standards for determining a reasonable fee to be awarded.
- Knowledge of legal process time and requisite skill level. Providing a proper analysis of what was done demands that the expert have considerable experience and knowledge of what constitutes a reasonable amount of attorney time for the tasks done, and what is the requisite skill level needed for the tasks.
- Ability and willingness to do the required – time intensive – factual research and analysis. There must be factual research and analysis of what tasks were done (or not done) by the attorneys seeing a legal fee award. Then there must be an expert attorney analysis of what reasonably needed to be done versus what was done (or not done). This research and analysis is a time-intensive process; a person unwilling or unable to devote the time to do the proper research is not using the accepted methodology of the specialty field of legal fee analysis.
- Reporting and proper methodology. Today’s expert must be able to write a detailed report, based on expert methodology that will pass Daubert-style attacks.
- Clarity in testimony. There must be communication by the expert to the fact-finder, by clear, focused, testimony in depositions and trials. A good consultant helps the expert to attain that clarity and focus.
Most attorneys who are asked to serve as an expert on the attorney fees of a friend are unable, or unwilling, to expend the time required to properly assess the underlying facts behind the billing entries of their friend. The consultant can help explain to the expert what is needed, and how it can be efficiently obtained. That is why the consultant helps a testifying expert to attain an advantage in explaining to judge or jury what is the correct “reasonable fee award” for the work performed.