1. Keeping in mind the big picture. In business valuation, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind and not get lost in complexities. Additional information will be continually introduced throughout the process, and updating figures repeatedly can be costly and time consuming.

2. Close collaboration among the attorney, expert, and the client is key to the process. Inform yourself about the main issues that may figure into the valuation. This will allow you to knowledgeably debate important assumptions.

3. Know your weaknesses.  Preparing your expert for deposition and trial is crucial. A deposition serves to gather facts and assumptions; it pins the expert down to a position.

Asking the expert to identify vulnerabilities in his or her report and force him or her to formulate a cogent response to any potential questions. Your knowledge of these issues is key to a defense of assumptions.

Don’t fight over every variable. The key for the expert is to know which variables matter most to the conclusion of value and defend those. An expert’s grasp of detail and ability to point out inaccuracies to the court are an instant boost to the expert’s credibility.

4. Visual aids. Experts operate on a different level of communication. Visual aids that make the expert’s testimony comprehensible to jury members are invaluable, as are trial consultants who can take valuation concepts and formulate them in a way laypeople can understand.

Creating a spreadsheet to simulate the opposing expert’s analysis and adjusting variables to understand key assumptions can be helpful. Also using the document as a guide to questioning the opposing expert at deposition or in cross-examination is key.

By: Kim Onisko