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In August 2010, ExpertPages conducted a survey among experts in different fields. The approximately 350 respondents were actively working as expert witnesses or consultants in litigation and/or listed in a broad range of different topics, including medical and non-medical topics, and were residing in 39 states. The respondents participated in the survey, sharing candid facts about their work, fees, and clients, knowing that their responses would be kept in complete confidentiality (survey data is used only in aggregate form).
Do Experts Have a General Base Rate?
Do experts have a base rate, or do they vary their rates? Suggested reasons for varying a rate included the ability of the client to afford the fee, the likely duration of the assignment, the time pressures, experience with the issues involved, etc.
When experts who use a base rate were asked if they vary their rate depending on the case at hand, 82% of experts listed in ExpertPages answered they do not. In other words, four out of five experts are unlikely to vary their rates from case to case. A somewhat lower percentage (72%) of the experts not listed on ExpertPages reported they donít vary their rates by case.
An expert may charge a somewhat different rate for parts of the assignment. Indeed, about two thirds of all experts who charge an hourly rate report modifying their rates for hours spent in actual testimony and/or in travel. This affects the fees of some assignments (though by far not all expert assignments involve court appearances and/or travel).
Among experts who charge an hourly rate, 58% of experts increase their hourly rates for actual trial deposition. As for travel time, while 39% lower their rates for travel time, 10% increase their rates for travel.
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