Summarising a broad area of expertise
Thank you for your interest in our request for volunteers to write topic summaries on broad areas of expertise covered by the UK Register of Expert Witnesses. These topic summaries will be used to provide background information for the non-expert (usually a solicitor or paralegal) user of the expert search engine accessible through this web site. You can view the first few topics we have picked out in the expert witness section of this site. The list on that page is not fixed - as good summaries are written we will adapt the list.
Thankfully, this project is not time sensitive. We can deal with contributions as and when we receive them.
What constitutes a good summary?
We need a written summary of 1,000 words or fewer giving the lay reader insight into the area of expertise in which you work, its sub-specialties and key concepts (see the next section for what it shouldn’t be). The text should adopt a casual, chatty style of prose (see the sample contribution for an example of the style of writing we think will work well), and aim to help the lay reader better understand the subject area and, therefore, be able to make a more informed selection from the list of subject index terms available through the expert search engine. (Take a look at one of the topics listed in the expert witness section of this web site to see what the list of subject index terms looks like.)
A contribution should start with a concise definition of the area of expertise. This might be followed by a paragraph setting out the main sub-disciplines. Next a section should be written looking at the common issues that arise in litigation involving the expertise and how to get the right kind of expertise to address the same. Likewise, a section on any common pitfalls would be helpful. Are there some types of case that seem to send solicitors down blind alleyways?
We can include a small amount of illustrative material and photographs if these will enhance the piece. These should be clearly anchored in the text (just put something like [picture 1 goes here] in the text). Illustrations should be sent to us in JPEG format.
Sketching out what falls within the ambit of a particular area of expertise is just part of the task - what falls nearby can be important too!
Often we find that lawyers who call the Register helpline have very limited understanding of the expertise they need. So it would be helpful for your text to consider the closely related areas of expertise that may turn out to be more relevant than the area that first popped into their head. We can use this kind of interlinking to build a web of guidance for the lay user.
What it shouldn’t be!
The piece should not be about you or your company. We are not looking for an advertorial; nor is it an opportunity for some self-promotion within the text - the promotion comes from having the piece appearing whenever someone searches for the relevant expertise and it being clearly tied to your entry in the Register.
On qualifications and memberships
We also need a quick guide to the main qualifications and memberships the lawyer should look for when seeking to instruct an expert, and the awarding/regulatory body(ies) for each one. In this respect, cautionary notes are just as valuable as positive ones. So if the area of expertise is one dominated by expertise gained through experience rather than formal qualifications, then that is a valuable insight.
The qualification and membership data should be prepared in tabular format with three columns providing the following:
- the generally used abbreviation (e.g. FRICS)
- the full form of the qualification or membership (e.g. Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), and
- details of the awarding/member body.