November 17, 2015 at 5:00 PM Pacific
Pre-Paid (Member): $15.00
Pre-Paid (Non-Member): $20.00
Pay at the Door (Member): $20.00
Pay at the Door (Non-Member): $20.00


The Role of Neutrality and Advocacy for the Expert Witness

Join the San Diego chapter for a special dinner presentation by attorney Merv Thompson and expert David Neagley about how the competing forces of neutrality and advocacy affect the work of experts.

Most experts work somewhere between the attorney's world of advocacy and the strict neutrality of mediators.  Some experts advocate strongly for their client’s case, while others adopt an “it is what it is” approach.  Experts are typically retained as a neutral outside party, but may end up serving more or less as an advocate if their information has come only from one side of the dispute.  

In these situations, the client may become invested in a position that has been developed by the expert without full understanding of the other side’s view.  This can create a challenging conflict between the expert’s loyalty to the client’s interests, and responsibility to his or her own reputation.  All of this makes the mediator's work more difficult by widening the gap between parties, creating multiple hidden agendas, and raising the stakes that are at risk for the parties.

Join FEWA San Diego to learn more about how to operate effectively in the gray area between neutrality and advocacy, and how to recognize and avoid risks and pitfalls that await the expert.   


Merv Thompson's track to mediation and arbitration began when he was the first Research Attorney employed by the Northern San Diego County Branch of the Superior Court, under the mentorship of Judge Fiorenzo Lopardo. In 1991, Merv inaugurated his own firm and transitioned from litigation into mediation and arbitration. He was among the very first Construction Defect Mediators and Special Masters in California, and assisted in improving the Case Management Orders that govern complex construction defect litigation.  Drawing on his considerable trial experience, Merv has settled mediation cases in the many millions of dollars, and arbitrated construction and negligence matters in judicial references and arbitrations. Learn More. 



David Neagley is a forensic architect and construction industry expert with plaintiff and defense clients that include some of the largest building owners, public entities, contractors, trade contractors and architecture firms in the nation.  He is an NCARB registered architect in 5 states, a licensed general contractor, and has handled hundreds of construction claims as a CSLB arbitrator, Superior Court mediator, and dispute review board panelist.  This combination of design, construction and ADR experience provides both detailed construction industry knowledge and insight into the overall dispute resolution process. Learn More. 


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San Diego, CA 92123

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