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What does a security expert witness do?

Once retained, a premise liability/security expert witness is obligated to truthfully and with integrity review, advise, investigate elements of the case, discover new information, and provide direction. Based on the information received, and when requested to do so, the security premise negligence expert, should author their opinion in a report or verbally testify in a deposition or trial.

What qualities do I need in an expert witness?

A security expert should love what they do, have attention to detail with excellent written and oral communications skills. The expert should have presentations and article or book authorship, which will typically evidence this. They should have recent or current experience in the area they are being retained.

When should I hire an expert witness?

A security expert witness should be engaged as soon as possible. The longer the wait, the more chance that environmental conditions will change at the site where the loss occurred. Additionally, complicated negligence, premise liability cases should cause the immediate engagement of an expert security witness. The purpose of this engagement is to assist with the validation of information and or help obtain new information. Alternatively, a subject security expert should be engaged if the opposing counsel retains thier own security expert.

My expert wants to conduct a site visit. Do expert witnesses really need to do a site visit?

Opposing council will always ask an expert "have you visited the site?", and "how can you render an opinion for something you have never seen?". So, the answer is as soon as possible. The longer the wait, the more chance that environmental conditions will change at the site where the loss occurred. The International Association of Professional Security Consultants (IAPSC) has a guideline which addresses forensic methodologies. Get it here:

Can you identify if there is adequate lighting from a photograph?

No! Absolutely not. Camera/phone light sensitivity can drastically vary by camera/lens. The sensitivity of cameras can be misleading. Photos can identify relationships and environmental conditions, but a site visit by a security expert witness should be encouraged when considering causation with lighting. The assessment should be completed as soon as possible to the event.

What is a security expert?

A security expert witness is someone who has tenure in the application of proactive professional security management and who is or has been a security consultant, security director with significant amounts of tenure. They should also be able to address all facets of a security program -physical/architectural, security technology, and most important operations.

Do former or current police officers make good security experts?

Law enforcement is predominately reactive and officers will probably be deposition and trial tested. However, a law enforcement officer testifying on security technology may not be the best fit and may lead to a Daubert motion. The key is to make sure you have a security expert witness who is practicing in the areas of causation, which led to the loss.

How can I qualify my security expert?

Interview, and make sure there is a good personality fit with your litigant team. Second, once you have confirmed that the fit is there, do your homework. LinkedIn, media, search engine queries should bring up relevant findings. Ask the expert for deposition, presentation, and or article(s) samples on the area of causation that you are seeking to substantiate.

How to avoid a Daubert motion?

To support your case and to avoid a Daubert motion, the security expert witness should have related security certifications, designations, and advanced security education. Beyond this, thought leadership through presentations, articles, and practical recent experience is also important.

What's my role with a security expert witness?

Once you engage a security expert witness, they may request additional information from you. Ultimately, timely communication and payment are key. Once you retain a consultant, promptly compensate that consultant for their initial retainer and subsequent invoices. You will not get the best performance from anyone when there are concerns about payment. Ultimately, this hurts the expert/litigant relationship. Experts may also withhold work or abstain from future cases because of this.

What should I expect with my expert security witness?

A security expert witness should be unbioased with high integrity. In the absence of information to support a case, the expert should quickly abstain or recluse themselves from further involvement. Once retained, the security expert witness should review all documentation and alert the litigant team when complete. The litigant team should request a phone call and debriefing of the expert's opinion. The expert on this call should identify additional information to strengthen their opinion. Examples will include site visits, additional documentation, authorization for additional autonomous discovery (record management data searches), visualizations, etc. I have outlined a process that works well here: My process

What mistakes can a security expert witness make?

Case documentation review is discoverable. Security expert witnesses will review cases and mark up drawings/pdf's for subsequent notes. Rendering opinions on these markups can show bias. A security expert witness's review should only highlight areas of the case that apply to their final opinion. They should not render opinions within the middle of the review.

No defining communication processes, which identify how communication is to be sent, and the information to be presented in that communication. Again, opinions should not be expressed in these communications.

Are there standards and guidelines for premise liability and security negligence?

Standards are emerging, but ASIS International and its Commission of Guidelines and Standards have paved the road for standards (ex. ASIS Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention Standard). The National Fire Protection Association is also a standard developer and has rendered security technology and active assailant/active shooter standards. Many independent governmental and or independent associations have authored security guidance that likely is public but not a standard.

What's the difference between a security standard and security guideline?

A standard is a rigorous public process, which involves multiple people in its development and refinement. A standard process is typically overseen by a standard developing organization. A standard developing organization approves how the processes for the standard development and incorporates the public commentary and can subsequently be adopted as a code. There are no security codes presently. A guideline typically has no formal guidance for public comments and may or may not include peer reviewers. It is simply an instrument to inform others about best practices.

What should my security expert witness do?

  • Act with the highest integrity.
  • Be honest always.
  • Be unafraid to recluse or abstain from a case.
  • Have extensive knowledge in the areas of causation.
  • Fully and autonomously investigate and seek additional information for solidifying their opinion.
  • Fully evaluate information and proactively seek information that could undermine that opinion.
  • Communicative both in writing and verbally. Knowing their respective audience when speaking/testifying.
  • Render aesthetically pleasing reports.
  • Think outside of the box.
  • Showing passion for their area of knowledge and expertise.

Who is the best security expert? Are you the right expert for my case?

Let's find out! Contact me here. In the interim, please review my #onejob file, LinkedIn profile, the publications I have authored, and my resume for my representative skill set. While technically experienced with security technology, I am not a cyber expert.

Your skills don't align with my case, but I don't know who else to contact. Can you help me find the right security expert witness?

With decades of professional security, I have relationships with a wide variety of security professionals and law enforcement subject matter experts. I am always willing to refer to those who need additional support or are being litigiously pursued.

How do I win my premise liability, workplace violence or negligent security case?

As soon as possible, retain a security expert who can visit the site and work with your litigant team to render an opinion.

Where do you practice your security expert witness work?

I work all over the United States but am based in Chicago, Illinois.