Credit Reporting Expert Witness, Experience or Research…which is better?
In my world, that of the credit expert witness, there are about a half dozen people who seem to do much of the expert witness work. I’m not sure if that’s coincidental or if there are really only a small handful of people who feel comfortable doing expert witness work, which isn’t for everyone. Some of the experts have experience in the financial services industry, some do not. Some have recent financial services experience, some do not. And, some have absolutely no experience in the credit industry other than as a curious researcher.
I’ve also noticed a trend amongst these credit expert witnesses, which is that all of them, save me, do most of their work representing plaintiffs. This is likely related to the lack of experience working for the industry. Point being, we’re all credit active consumers…but not many of us are credit industry veterans.
So the question that attorneys and pro se litigants have to wrestle with is this…am I better off with a plaintiff’s only credit expert witness or am I better off with someone who has a more balanced case distribution and who actually comes from the credit industry? The answer, while seemingly obvious, is anything but.
In my ~100 cases I’ve realized that some lawyers would rather have the novice credit expert witness, one that perhaps has no experience at all in the credit industry. I say this with a certain degree of certainty as I’ve been opposed by people in the credit repair industry, real estate agents, auto salesmen, and even an electronics salesman who worked at a big box electronics retailer. None of these professions is really specific to consumer credit, other than credit repair.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had attorneys who’ve hired me and it was very clear that they wanted someone who had experience under their belt. And, I’ve had some who’ve told me that unless I had trial experience they would have looked elsewhere. This seems to be more of the norm when the attorney is representing an industry player like a bank, collection agency, debt buyer, or a credit reporting agency.
Credit Expert Witness, John Ulzheimer, is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. He is an FCRA certified expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.