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Need an expert? The first place to start looking may surprise you: the Internet. That’s not all: Once you’ve found an expert (or been given the name of the opposition’s), you can use the Web to verify the expert’s credentials and background. Free expert witness directories on the Net can be a good place to start your search. For directories, look for sites that include an expert’s curriculum vitae and references, and also links to the expert’s articles, Web site and e-mail. Law.com’s NLJ Experts ( www.nljexperts.com) and JurisPro Expert Witness Directory ( www.jurispro.com) both fit the bill. (Law.com is a sister entity to Small Firm Business.) Experts who list on NLJ Experts and JurisPro are allowed to include their picture, and JurisPro listings can include streaming audio. Because most people (especially jurors) often judge others by their physical attributes and voice (and not just their expertise), being able to view the expert’s picture and hear his or her voice can help you to decide whether to even make an initial contact. For those who remain skeptical of relying only upon what experts say about themselves, the Net can be a useful tool to find out the things they don’t advertise, such as inconsistent statements found in articles written by, or about, the expert, or in public statements. Some other places to look: Discussion group postings: Experts love to share their ideas. To find postings by a specific expert, use the Advanced Search pages of Google Groups (more than 850 million postings dating back to 1981). Type the expert’s name or e-mail address into the query box labeled “Return only messages where the author is” ( www.google.com/advanced_group_search?hl=en). You can “Google” an expertise (e.g. “fingerprints”) to identify experts in a specific field or to find people who may have encountered the same situation as your client. For example, in a keyword search for “Firestone tires,” we found postings from people who had encountered serious problems with tire tread separation, as well as the names of experts who have been involved in tread separation lawsuits. See Boardreader.com to find postings on message boards or forums and Daypop.com to locate an expert’s blog (or a blog about a specific topic). Search engines. (Google, AltaVista, AlltheWeb, et al.): The most straightforward approach is to use a search engine. You might just find the expert’s conference papers or even PowerPoint presentations. To limit your search to PowerPoint presentations, go to www.google.com or to www.yahoo.com (which began indexing PowerPoint files in Feb. 2004). Click on the “Advanced Search” link. Enter your search (e.g. the expert’s name) and then select Microsoft PowerPoint from the File Format drop-down menu. Magazine and newspaper articles: Not only do experts write articles, they are often quoted in newspaper and magazine articles. To find these articles usually requires a pay-to-play database, such as Lexis or Westlaw. However, a free option may be right at your local library, if it offers “remote access” service to various online databases. Many of these databases contain full-text articles from newspapers and magazines — all accessible from your home of office computer. To gain entry to this world of free information (often updated daily), visit your local library (online, that is), and slick on the link labeled “online databases” (or look for something similar, e.g. the New York Public Library’s link is labeled “electronic resources”). Choose a database, and enter your library card number. An example of just one of these databases is the “Newspaper Source” database found at NYPL’s site. It includes remote access to full text articles from 159 U.S. newspapers, 18 international newspapers, and six newswires, among other resources. Don’t know your library’s URL? No problem: just visit LibDex ( http://libdex.com) and enter the name of your city or county. Don’t have a library card? No problem: Apply for one online (you’ll usually need to pick it up in person). Don’t want to apply for a library card? Use FindArticles.com (free) to search the full text of more than 300 popular magazines and journals dating back to 1998. Need more scholarly articles? See www.ingenta.com to search thousands of article summaries for free. If you see something of interest, you can add it to the electronic shopping cart and charge it online or try to obtain it from your local library. The Internet is like a fishing expedition: You never know what you’re going to find (or if you’re going to find anything at all). But if you know where to start looking, you just might hook something of interest. Carole Levitt, a member of the SFB Editorial Advisory Board, and Mark Rosch are principals of Internet For Lawyers (www.netforlawyers.com), an Internet research training company.

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