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Expert witness

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Rabby

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This is something I think more people should know about. It's easier to get into if you're older or have several years of experience in something with a "technical" aspect to it. That can be finance, computing, occultism (I actually knew an expert witness on this), plumbing, engineering, doctoring, bricklaying, real estate transactions, or whatever.

If you don't know what an "expert witness" is, I'll describe. Basically, court cases rely on testimony to establish facts. Some testimony comes from direct witnesses or interested parties, like the people who are alleging harm, or the people who are alleged to have caused harm.

But some testimony has to come from technical experts. How should the foundation have been poured to avoid a building collapse? How should the contract have been presented to the client? How should the website security have been set up to avoid a breach? Were these teens reading books on alternative religion, or were they planning a human sacrifice? (Sorry... I've always thought the occult expert was a funny example.)

I do a bit of this on the side because it keeps me sharp professionally, but I'm under 40. Particularly with computer skills and such, I think it's accessible to people in their 30s at least, if you have the stress tolerance to be questioned by lawyers in a public courtroom. You can also just consult for lawyers on one side, and explain things to them. Sometimes they have no idea how things work in your trade, but they are responsible for prosecuting a case that hinges on the information you can give them.

Rates in the US for this are $100/hr and up in my experience. $200-$300 / hr is common in some subject areas I've either worked in or known others who do. I worked on a case this year where one of the experts, a doctor, charged over $700 per hour. Tragically, he was an incompetent a$$, but that's another story. Point is, you can do a little or a lot, take one case or take 1000 hours of cases, talk with some lawyers, maybe go to deposition or trial, and bill out a few thousand dollars or a full time income, depending on how much you do.

If I were looking for a between-businesses hustle, or laid off from a professional job, it's probably what I would do. Hope the idea helps someone.
 

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Rabby

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I searched the forum for "expert witness" and found there are several others here :) So I guess it's not *that* unknown here. But usually if you tell someone you do expert witness work, and they're not a lawyer or an expert, they say "huh what's that?"

Also worth noting, this is a hustle that you can definitely build into a business with employees and controls and owner freedom. I haven't done so for my little bit of expert witness work, but I know people who have.
 

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