One of the biggest challenges facing an expert witness in their practice is paperwork. Too much time, money, and effort are spent chasing paper so-to-speak in the form of invoicing, quotations, letters, and other mundane tasks that prevent an expert witness from prepping for trial or acquiring new clientele. That time would be far better spent on assignments, perfecting testimony, prepping reports and developing your professional area of expertise.
One of the most common sets of questions from expert witness clients has to do with collections:
- I am having trouble getting paid as an expert witness, what do I do?
- How can an expert witness make retaining counsel pay what he/she is owed?
- What do I do when a lawyer refuses to pay me for my expert witness work?
- How do I as an expert witness collect overdue bills?
A virtual assistant can help collect those fees. There are those attorneys out there who refuse to pay an expert witness either because they are being dishonest or there is some dispute over the invoice. Then there is always the possibility that your invoice got lost in a black hole in their office or it has been deliberately and strategically placed at the bottom of a bill pile. Either way, a VA can help you collect what is due.
The first step in collecting an overdue invoice for expert witnessing is to figure out who in the law firm is responsible for paying the bill. Next, you would want to make sure they have the bill. Finally, you would want to let that person know that the invoice is overdue and that you are owed payment.
All of this tends to be very time-consuming. There will be voicemails, emails, and call backs. There is also usually more than a little frustration and the person handling this must be determined to achieve a result for the client. That’s where a virtual assistant comes in.
Your virtual assistant can figure out who has the bill and that it has been received and request payment for you for a relatively low cost. You will find that your return on investment is substantial in saved time, collected money, and saved aggravation.
One of the biggest problems an expert in a solo practice has is leveraging themselves. A virtual assistant can be a viable way to do so. Such a virtual assistant can be highly effective in assisting in collections of unpaid expert witness fees.
This is one of many areas where a virtual assistant becomes indispensable to an expert witness. Not only are they a great asset in collecting owed funds, but a talented VA can also take care of almost any task in your personal OR professional life. The question isn’t whether you can afford a virtual assistant… rather, it’s can you NOT afford to have one?
Most expert witnesses just can’t justify paying someone part-time to handle these tasks. They certainly can’t afford a physical office to have an assistant on the payroll for it either. And even if the practice is large enough to have an office, common sense and privacy concerns dictate that a virtual assistant should be their first choice for help in their work and home-life. They can work as many or as few hours as needed and a good virtual assistant is always on call.
Virtual assistants are self-employed. There is no sick-pay, holiday-pay or regulatory considerations. You simply pay an hourly rate and your VA will track their time, provide an itemized breakdown, and bill you for the hours worked. In this technological age, with Skype, Whatsapp, Dropbox and Google docs, mobile telephones, and email, there is no need for a business support worker to sit in an office with you.
Here is a list of just a few of the tasks that a virtual assistant could do for an expert witness:
- Responding to enquiries
- Sending out quotations for work
- Following up on enquiries
- Arranging appointments
- Making travel arrangements
- Setting up meetings
- Sending out reports
I worked for approximately six years with an economist who was an expert witness. It is demanding work and I don’t know anyone in the field out there that would not benefit dramatically from the help that a virtual assistant can provide.
If you would like to find out more about how a virtual assistant could help you as an expert witness, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and/or contact me here at tmonroe.com for further information.