The appraisal review process and review appraiser can be used effectively in litigation support in a number of ways to support a litigation case. When engaged, or rather enmeshed, in litigation, an attorney will often solicit support from a review appraiser. Typical areas of assistance the attorney needs are:
- To review appraisal(s) prepared at the request of opposing counsel, identifying areas of strength or weakness as an aid to the attorney in preparing the case, and to provide rebuttal testimony.
- To review appraisal(s) prepared at the attorney’s request for the same purpose: to assist the attorney in preparing the case and to offer suggestions as to how the appraiser could make the report or presentation clearer or more effective to the fact finder.
Is an appraisal a legal document? Yes! An appraisal by a qualified appraiser can act as a legal document in insurance settlements, divorces, estate proceedings and other matters involving personal property. This is just one aspect of litigation support which is becoming the next edge of successful litigation today.
“Litigation Support”, provides assistance of an accounting nature in a matter involving existing or pending litigation. It deals primarily with issues related to the quantification of economic damages. A typical litigation support assignment would be calculating the economic loss resulting from a breach of contract. A growing number of law firms are establishing independent litigation support centers to better serve their clients. This shake-up, prompted by client demand and an effort to gain a competitive advantage, has led to an increased recruitment of IT and litigation support personnel.
In today’s legal environment, it is nearly impossible to separate “litigation support” from “information technology.” The evolution of Records Management from a facilities planning task to a data management and professional responsibility issue adds another variable to the equation. Factor in emerging disciplines such as Knowledge Management and Practice Support, and you’ve moved beyond basic algebra and entered into complex calculus.
Given the competitive pressures of today’s legal market, it is unwise to assume these variables can or should function independently. Leveraging the combined strength of the entire equation can be the difference between merely surviving and actually thriving. Whether your role focuses on Litigation Support or one of these other areas, your continuing success-and that of your customers and clients-will depend on how well you understand and leverage the connections between each of these areas.
Litigation support are professionals who are experts that specialized applications designed specifically for adversarial work. This includes document processing, review and production systems, case management applications, deposition and transcript feeds and countless others. In addition, these professionals understand how to apply the relevant rules, procedures and best practices to the use of this technology in order to support the case team.
Finally, Litigation Support professionals often provide the critical link between the case team and the service providers brought into the mix. Effectively managing vendor relationships can be critical to the overall success of the client engagement.
The ability to explain and simplify complex business and valuation issues to a judge or a jury can be a significant differentiator and part of a winning formula.
You need a company that has worked on and succeeded in cases with the highest of stakes – with clients such as WorldCom, Blockbuster, Walt Disney, Rainforest Café, the list goes on. But at the same time, you want to feel your taken care of if your company doesn’t happen to belong in the Fortune 500.
Neil Lemons is an independent writer who enjoys writing articles to be used as business valuation resources. He has years of knowledge, and has written many articles about business valuation, with a particular focus in the business litigation services arena.