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While everyone hopes to avoid litigation, that possibility hangs unseen as the "800-pound gorilla in the room"—the main reason for any contingency, business resumption, or disaster recovery plan. The reasons for which a corporation can be sued are almost as numerous as corporations themselves. Whether your organization is a bank, stockbroker, utility company, telecom service provider, health care provider—or any company with more than 10 employees, as a rule, you need a contingency plan. Even with the best of plans, your organization can still be sued.

In today's courtroom, the ruling on a case often boils down to which party had the better expert witness. One thing is certain: If one side hires an expert, the other side will also. Hence, we have the inevitable battle of experts that is common in all kinds of litigation today. The most successful expert witness not only has a level of knowledge that is unsurpassed in his or her profession, but also the appearance of objectivity, earnestness, and charisma to convey that expertise to non-technical persons.

We hope that this series has been helpful in identifying elements that can influence juries and win trials. If you keep the tips from this series in mind, you should be able to find and retain the perfect witness to help maintain the well-being of your organization.

In our next article, we'll consider the perspectives of being an expert witness from the other side of the witness stand: lawyers.

Leo A. Wrobel has more than 30 years of experience with a host of firms engaged in banking, manufacturing, telecommunications services, and government. An active author and technical futurist, he has published 10 books and more than 400 trade articles on a wide variety of technical subjects. In 1986, Leo pioneered carrier collocation by placing the first computer disaster recovery center inside a telephone central office. Leo served 10 years as an elected mayor and city councilman (but says he is better now). A sought-after speaker, he has lectured throughout the United States and overseas and has appeared on several television news programs. Leo is presently CEO of Dallas-based TelLAWCom Labs Inc. and b4Ci, Inc. Contact Leo at 214-888-1300 or email leo@b4ci.com.

Sharon M. (Ford) Wrobel conducted extensive publishing and regulatory research for her former employer (a nationwide telephone company), a function she continues today as vice president of business development for b4Ci, Inc. Sharon was a major content contributor to Leo's book Business Resumption Planning, Second Edition (Auerback Publications, 2008), coauthored his book Disaster Recovery for Communications and Critical Infrastructure (Artech House Books, 2009), and has published dozens of trade articles under her own name. Sharon attended the University of Maryland and El Centro College in Dallas, where she trained as a registered nurse before joining Leo in his businesses. Sharon also served honorably as a public official, accepting appointments to the city's Planning and Zoning Commission and Historical Commission. She can be reached at sharon@b4ci.com.

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