Preparing to Hire a Handwriting Expert for The First Time
After vetting your handwriting expert, it’s now time to prepare to bring them on board! Once you’ve established a rapport with your expert and are ready to begin, there are two other necessary steps you should take.
The first is a consulting agreement. Every FDE with a good business sense establishes a formal agreement before diving headlong into uncharted territory.
Next, they’re going to need specific evidence, and possibly lots of it!
What Should You Request from Your Handwriting Expert?
Your list of requests for your handwriting expert should be short and sweet. In most cases, details are unnecessary, so try not to muddy the waters with a bias-making backstory. Ideally, the FDE only needs to know WHAT documents are in question, WHAT is in the dispute about these documents, and WHO the players are.
If this seems oversimplified, it is only to help direct your attention to the part that your expert needs for just about every handwriting exam that is performed. Please leave it to the FDE to ask any other appropriate questions to garner additional information. As a rule of thumb, please refrain from telling the FDE what you want the opinion to be.
First, that is subject to discovery in a deposition, and not a good idea. Second, it also puts your expert in the uncomfortable position of reminding you that he or she is an unbiased observer reporting on the evidence apart from your desire to have the ideal outcome.
Specify Your Time Frame with Your FDE
Make sure you’re giving your expert a real time frame and a preferred time frame to complete the task. Most FDEs are very structured in their procedures and can work with your schedule if they know ahead what you require in terms of deadlines. In most cases, it isn’t necessary to shorten the deadline beforehand of the real one. Besides, if there is pressure to finish too soon, an urgency to finish could cause details to be overlooked.
Provide the Best Evidence to Your FDE
Irrespective of the type of case you have, the FDE requires BEST EVIDENCE. If “wet-ink” original documents exist, the FDE should see it, preferably before providing you with a written report. Otherwise, provide the earliest generation photocopy available. (Don’t forget to protect your original documents in a sheet protector. There may be other tests to do.)
Provide Comparable Samples to Your FDE
When it comes to the number of comparable samples, my mantra is,” the more, the better.” Your FDE can gain a better sense of the overall writing patterns and habits of the writer(s) in question with a broad selection of comparables. Moreover, collecting more evidence does not necessarily equate to a higher bill. Surprisingly, the examination goes much more smoothly with many samples and can offer a more solid foundation for your expert’s opinion.
Allow Your FDE Time to Complete Their Work
As you may expect, staring at letters, numbers, and shapes can become quite tedious over time. Focusing on one thing is only achievable for so long. For this reason, most FDEs find it much more productive to segment their work into smaller tasks to be finished over a more extended period.
Be Specific With What You Need from Your FDE
Be specific about your directions – how you want to communicate, whether you want access to a previously written report, and with whom you want communications limited. Other requests are also advisable, such as delivery method requirements or office procedures you follow.
Find the Right Expert Document Examiner for You
Choosing the right qualified Handwriting Expert may mean the difference between winning or losing your case. If you need assistance authenticating handwriting, contact Forensic QDE Lab today at 888-760-0339 or Linda@ForensicDocExaminer.com ! Linda Mitchell is a Certified Document Examiner and is a dependable resource for you.
Do you want to learn some more helpful tips for hiring an expert for the first time? Check out our other blog post for more information!