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Dear JACUSTOMER - I see no reason why a professor of family law could not testify. Generally most law professors also possess law degrees and if all you need is an affidavit in order to file the case I see no reason why this would not suffice. The problem is that if you get to trial you have to have the expert accepted by the court as an expert in the field so there is no guarantee that a law professor from another state would qualify as I'm certain the opposition would object. Unlike the medical profession, the practice of law varies considerably from state to sate as the laws are very different in the different jurisdictions. So a lawyer from another state may not be qualified to testify as to whether what your lawyer did or didn't do in GA would be malpractice if the professor was not familiar with GA law.
The affidavit to get the case accepted for filing is not as crucial as the testimony at trial but if you do not have an expert lined up for a possible trial you will have a problem maintaining the case. This is similar to criminal law where charges can be filed if there is probable cause that the defendant committed the crime but the prosecutor still needs to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict.
In order to qualify as an expert witness there must be a ruling by the court that this specific expert is qualified. I have no way of knowing if the qualifications of your particular expert would qualify in the GA court. There no law that says this expert or that expert is automatically qualified. As I said, there is a difference between being an "expert" for the purposes of the affidavit and being an "expert" witness at trial. I have no way of knowing if your affidavit will be challenged by the opposing party but if this is the only "expert" you can find then I would use this expert. If the case is dismissed it will be without prejudice and you would be able to refile if you found another expert.
If the expert is subpoenaed - without any agreement for professional compensation - and is later qualified by the presiding judge as an expert witness, he may not be required to perform any special service without an agreement for payment for the expert's professional fees. In the event that the expert is subpoenaed and is given only the statutory fee, he will probably not be as co-operative a witness as one who voluntarily agreed to testify as an expert witness. However, often times an attorney will serve a subpoena to his own expert to indicate that the witness has appeared under court order.
Of course you can subpoena anyone to court but it makes no sense to try to force someone to testify for you and have them say what you want them to say and that is why I said you can't force an expert to testify. You are asking me questions as an attorney who has practiced for thirty years and I'm trying to give you accurate as well as practical information since you want to act as your own attorney. It is impossible to provide you with all the tools necessary to properly try a case if you want to question everything I'm saying. You can either try to do everything from a technically correct standpoint or you can do it with the idea that some things are technically possible but not wise from a practical perspective. You are into some very complicated and technical aspects of trial practice when you elicit expert testimony. If you want a good expert who will help your case you had better be certain the witness is cooperative and wants to assist you in your claim. So if you try to force someone to testify who has no interest in doing so I seriously doubt the testimony is going to paint the picture you want. It's one thing to subpoena a hostile witness for purposes of cross examination and quite another to force an expert to testify when they have no desire to do so. So technically I was wrong to say you "can't" subpoena an unwilling expert, but I have never seen an attorney try to win a case with an expert who was unwilling to be there.
Malpractice suits are tough enough to win against any profession since most professionals don't enjoy testify against their peers. When someone is forced to do so they tend to be less than favorable toward the attorney who forced them into court.
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