ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Letters

Robert Finn (The Scientist, June 10, 1996, page 15) recently considered the increasing opportunities for academic life scientists to serve as consultants for industry. Finn's article mentioned rewards and drawbacks of such consulting for "biologists," but did not consider the concerns of a sizable subset of consultants, namely those life scientists asked to serve as experts in litigation. Scientists such as toxicologists, who can often command a hefty fee for their expertise, must exert extrem

Ronald Hood

Robert Finn (The Scientist, June 10, 1996, page 15) recently considered the increasing opportunities for academic life scientists to serve as consultants for industry. Finn's article mentioned rewards and drawbacks of such consulting for "biologists," but did not consider the concerns of a sizable subset of consultants, namely those life scientists asked to serve as experts in litigation.

Scientists such as toxicologists, who can often command a hefty fee for their expertise, must exert extreme caution to avoid the temptation to provide biased testimony or to go beyond the supportable science. Further, if a case proceeds to deposition or courtroom testimony, a naïve "expert" may be devastated by the attack of an aggressive opposing attorney, whose goal is to win the case and whose methods are likely to include attempts to make the witness look "foolish, unprepared, or intemperate" (R.D. Hood, Reproductive Toxicology, 8:269-73, 1994)....

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT