As an attorney, how do I select an expert for a case?

When you call PD&A, a consultation will be arranged to identify the issues in your case that might be addressed through expert consultation or testimony, and Dr. Dietz or the appropriate subject matter expert will offer you options for addressing the needs of the case through one or more experts in each substantive area and will recommend the dream team for your particular case.

Example 1: If you are handling a tort claim regarding child sexual abuse, you may be offered experts on the assessment of damages to child victims and their parents, experts on evaluating negligence for the setting in which the abuse occurred, experts on false allegations, experts on offender behavior, experts on the history of prevention programs, or experts on the analysis of biological fluids, rape kits, or wounds, depending on the issues in the case.

Example 2: If you are prosecuting or defending someone for homicide, you may be offered experts on criminal behavior analysis, diminished capacity, insanity, adjudicative competence, sentencing mitigation, manner and cause of death, wound pathology, toxicology, ballistics, tool marks, hair and fiber evidence, DNA, or any of the forensic sciences. Often our role is to counter other experts who have used the wrong methods or have misinterpreted the evidence.

Example 3: If you are handling a tort claim regarding a large number of plaintiffs exposed to a toxic or traumatic event, you may be offered teams of medical and psychological experts to conduct IMEs to evaluate the plaintiffs’ mental and physical damages, scientific experts to evaluate the type and dose of any toxic exposure, and industry experts to evaluate whether the event was caused by negligence. PD&A has handled cases involving hundreds of plaintiffs and is accustomed to scheduling teams of experts to conduct IMEs.

As an expert, how can I make use of PD&A consultation services?

In any of the disciplines we cover, we provide confidential consultation services to help other experts or investigators at every stage of a case, including planning a budget, requesting documents, summarizing documents, conducting or suggesting lines of investigation, developing interview strategies, conducting library research, data analysis, formulating or phrasing opinions, report writing, and preparation of demonstrative exhibits. We can help improve your work in a spirit of collegiality, as we routinely do for each other.

As a journalist or producer, how can I make use of PD&A’s resources?

We handle media inquiries on a daily basis for news organizations of every size, in every medium, and on every continent. Simply call us and let us know the area of inquiry and your deadline. We particularly enjoy responding to written questions and participating in documentaries. We are even available to conduct interviews of dangerous people on camera, as long as they competently consent.

As a student, how do I prepare for a forensic career?

First, go to the best schools you can get into and afford. Second, focus on everything you’ll need for your intended career. The more you know about the basic science and the settings in which you’ll work, the better a forensic scientist you’ll be. Third, focus on your communication skills. The more clearly you communicate in writing and speech, the greater the success you’ll have in helping lawyers, jurors, and judges understand complex matters. Fourth, avoid the mistake of confusing legal knowledge with forensic knowledge. The lawyers you work with can give you the law, and what you need to give them is mastery of the science, communicated clearly. Fifth, do everything in your power to maintain your integrity and objectivity against all of the challenges to both that life will bring your way.

A word of caution: Be suspect of masters programs in forensic psychology or courses in profiling, as neither of these will qualify you to do what you might imagine. To be a forensic psychologist, you’ll need a doctorate in psychology, and to be a profiler, you’ll need to be an outstanding law enforcement investigator for many years before you’ll be eligible for the appropriate training, which is only offered by law enforcement.