Using Big Data Tools To Help Build Great Expert Teams

Posted by and on January 30, 2018

As a litigator specializing in product liability, toxic torts, government actions and other civil litigation, identifying the right experts and recruiting a team of experts perfectly suited to your case can be critical to your success, especially when that case involves complex scientific issues.

Different Types of Expert Disciplines

For example, in cases that involve science and medicine, the legal team typically needs to identify experts in the right medical specialty, but may also require clinical trial specialists, pharmacologists, toxicologists, epidemiologists and/or unique regulatory experts. The problem is that often the type of testimony required is extremely complex and nuanced, requiring excellent communication skills and the right experience, sometimes in an esoteric subspecialty. Finding the most appropriate candidate for the role can be elusive.

Here are some examples:

  • A medical specialist with expertise in diagnosing and assessing unique and rare movement disorders
  • A biostatistician with specific expertise in nested case control designs to analyze a large data set to determine if a reported association is valid and reliable
  • A respiratory pathologist experienced with measuring exposures and accurately diagnosing rare lung diseases
  • A toxico-kineticist to testify on the data relevant to the migration of talc particles to the ovaries
  • An epigenetics expert who can opine on the alleged mechanistic link between a compound that is alleged to be an “endocrine disruptor” leading to toxicity or carcinogenesis

Litigators are generally familiar with online expert databases and registries to help identify experts for their cases. However, because these databases are, by their very nature, limited and non-comprehensive, these resources become stale and out of date very quickly. Even the best expert resources often do not provide an attorney with the right candidates.

Consulting Experts to Find Testifying Experts

It turns out that the ultimate solution to finding the best testifying experts in complex scientific litigation is to recruit knowledgeable and experienced scientific consultants. The right scientific consulting expert has had decades of experience working with experts of all types (medical, scientific, and technical) and understands the role that a testifying expert must play in all types of civil litigation (toxic tort, product liability, consumer fraud, etc.). The consulting scientist can road-test certain scientific theories with various expert candidates and get reactions about the arguments that he or she might be confronted with by opposing counsel. These insights can be invaluable for an attorney trying to select the most appropriate testifying expert.

Nevertheless, good consultants need the right tools.

Enter the Big Data solution

Innovative Science Solutions has been working with the leading Big Data tool for the identification of experts for litigation: Expertscape. This online platform identifies very specific areas of expertise from the largest online source of scientific information in the world: The National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database.

Expertscape’s founders have developed a sophisticated, yet user-friendly approach to navigating the rich but complex data in PubMed, creating qualified and quantified listings of experts on more than 26,000 biomedical topics. These experts are ranked based on a variety of factors using Expertscape’s proprietary algorithm. At the end of a search, the user is provided with a rich, prioritized, contextual list of expert candidates.

Using tools like Expertscape, ISS scientific consultants are empowered to find the right expert for cases and controversies of all types, including product liability, toxic torts, consumer fraud, securities and anti-trust disputes, governmental hearings, and regulatory disputes. These capabilities make ISS’s Expert Recruitment Services uniquely suited to complex scientific litigation.


One of many challenging elements for any complex case or controversy is finding the critical expert to help provide impactful guidance, insight and perspective when it matters. And while the wide-ranging resources of the internet provide litigators with seemingly infinite options, making effective and efficient use of those options presents a new challenge. Using innovative big data tools like Expertscape can enhance your preparedness, save valuable time and energy, and provide you with the edge necessary to carry the day.


We have summarized decades of experience recruiting expert teams into this easy-to-read, practical guide. Download this ebook to learn how litigators can meld expert evidence with winning arguments.

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