Founded in 1994, the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA) is dedicated to the professional development, ethics, and promotion of forensic consultants in all fields of discipline. FEWA brings together a diverse group of professionals sharing common goals related to forensics. The association offers the opportunity for its members to enhance their skills and knowledge to perform in an effective manner.
FEWA’s Arizona Chapter was established in 2007 and holds monthly meetings where presentations on a variety of pertinent topics are given to support the professional development of expert witnesses. Attorneys are always welcome to attend. Recent topics have included:
- Preparing for Depositions and Testimony
- What Attorneys Look for in Retaining Experts
- Ethical Dilemmas for Experts
- A Judge’s Perspective on Experts
The Arizona Chapter provides effective networking opportunities for experts to develop referral sources, and FEWA publishes an Experts Directory to assist attorneys in locating qualified experts. “The FEWA Directory is distributed to over 25,000 attorneys and is available online at the FEWA website (www.Forensic.org),” said Bob Underdown, immediate Past President of the Arizona Chapter whose firm “The Insurance Archaeologist” provides expert services in lawsuits involving insurance matters. “Not only have I received referrals from the directory and use it to refer attorneys to other experts, but I appreciate the strong relationships I have developed that have resulted in referrals that I get through other local FEWA members.” The Arizona Chapter is one of 10 FEWA Chapters nationwide.
The Arizona Chapter’s current membership is made up of experts from a variety of disciplines including accounting, information technology, insurance, employment, medicine, real estate/construction, and a number of engineering fields. “I was exposed to the diversity of the expertise of FEWA members at the first Arizona Chapter meeting I attended in 2010,” said Brad Taft, current Arizona Chapter President and Managing Director of Taft Vocational Experts. “Sitting on my left was a transportation safety expert who provided opinions in truck accident cases, and on my right was an equine expert who opined on the breeding, care, and training of Thoroughbred horses.”
What makes FEWA different?
FEWA has the distinction of being the only expert witness association that requires verifiable qualifications and testimonies in order to be designated as a Member. FEWA stands alone with a combination of benefits for its members, by incorporating networking, education, and referrals as integral aspects of FEWA membership. As a result, the application process is thorough and comprehensive; and Members are well-rounded, successful professionals.
Members of the Association subscribe to the FEWA Code of Professional Ethics. By doing so, they give notice that they clearly recognize the vital need to preserve and encourage fair and equitable practices among all who are engaged in the practice of forensic consulting.
What are the levels of FEWA membership?
There are three membership levels that experts can qualify for in joining FEWA:
- Professional Member: A forensic consultant in any recognized field who has completed a minimum of 3 verifiable forensic engagements (testimonies and/or depositions).
- Associate Member: A forensic consultant who has 2 or less verifiable forensic engagements (testimonies and/ or depositions).
- Affiliate Member: A professional using or supporting forensic consultants. For those who are looking to become forensic consultants, an Associate Membership with FEWA is the perfect way to break into the field and learn invaluable tools towards becoming an expert witness.
“Whether you are just starting to develop an expert witness practice or have a great deal of experience in forensic consulting, being an active FEWA member provides great benefit in supporting your continued professional development,” states Bill Acorn, Secretary of the Arizona Chapter and owner of Acorn Consulting Services, which provides expert witness services in a number of construction areas including HVAC systems, cleanrooms, piping, and refrigeration systems.
“My active membership in FEWA has supported my development as an expert witness in the metallurgy field,” said Adam Haskins, Arizona Chapter Treasurer and owner of Forensic Metallurgy LLC. “The skills and knowledge I have gained in how to prepare and deliver testimony has been most valuable, and the marketing tips to grow my practice have been very effective.”
FEWA established the Certified Forensic Litigation Consultant (CFLC) credential in 2014 for qualified expert witnesses and forensic consultants. The CFLC is granted exclusively to FEWA Professional members who meet the eligibility criteria established requiring significant participation in FEWA activities, complete education courses in the subjects of forensic analysis, litigation consulting and expert witnessing, and maintain professional licenses in good standing for those licensed services for which the member is currently performing and must be licensed to perform.
In addition to benefiting from participating in the Arizona Chapter’s monthly meetings, FEWA members have the opportunity to attend FEWA’s Annual Conference each Spring. This two-day meeting provides keynote presentations and breakout sessions on a variety of topics to support the professional development and practice development of FEWA members along with networking opportunities. The next FEWA Annual Conference is April 27-28, 2018 in San Francisco. FEWA also provides a series of Webinars on pertinent topics that are free to FEWA members and are recorded and archived for future viewing.