Best Ethical Practices for Experts has been adopted by the members of SER as of July 25, 2008.
Best Ethical Practices for Experts
Securities Experts' Roundtable
Statement of Purpose: The development and promulgation of these "Best Ethical Practices" for experts engaged in securities dispute resolution work was undertaken by the Securities Experts' Roundtable to guide members in shaping their own professional endeavors and in advancing the public image of expert witnesses as a profession. We have worked with no other organization in formulating these precepts and do not suggest that they have application outside the field of practice we represent.
Just as the adage, "good compliance makes good business," carried both an ethical and a practical connotation, we believe that these "Best Practices for Experts" represent not only sound ethical guidance for securities dispute resolution experts, but sound practical tips as well for the avoidance of undesirable conflicts, potential liability, and possible client dissatisfaction or confusion. Our objectives are to assist the individual practitioner by tapping the collective wisdom of this body's membership and to foster principles of conduct that will engender professional credibility and pride among our ranks and the community in which we work, i.e. securities arbitration/litigation.
- The expert will at all times be truthful in rendering his/her opinion.
- The purposes of expert testimony are to assist the trier of fact in understanding complex issues as well as to opine on industry practices.
- The expert, before accepting a case, should use his/her best judgment to determine that he/she has the necessary level of expertise to handle the assignment.
- The expert should inform retaining counsel prior to his/her testimony when the opinion expected to be proffered has a substantial likelihood of damaging the retaining party's interests.
- The expert should not agree to participate financially either directly or indirectly in the success or failure of a case.
- All non-public documents provided to the expert by the parties should be held in strict confidence.
- All billings should be fair, reasonable and accurate as to the time spent on the matter. The expert should document time spent and expenses charged when invoicing a client.
- Damage analyses, statistical presentations, charts and schedules prepared by the expert or under his/her supervision shall accurately, objectively and fairly present the given facts of the matter in dispute and clearly set forth the parameters and assumptions under which they are prepared.
- Expert testimony/reports should not include inflammatory language, ad hominem attacks, or misleading or inadequately supported opinions.
- Experts should not attack or malign other experts with whom they might disagree. Disagreements concerning opinions rendered should be expressed in a professional manner, especially during testimony.
- Experts should affirmatively inquire into the existence of potential or actual conflicts prior to accepting an assignment. The expert should promptly inform the client of conflicts and potential conflicts as they become known during the course of an engagement.
- Details listed in the expert's resume shall be accurate.