Super experts: Only in the U.S. of A., you say?

More than 2,000 people in the U.S. see themselves as expert enough to pay for a listing in the SEAK, Inc. Expert Witness Directory 2021. Fair enough. What’s troubling is that each of them, on average, claim 11 different areas of expertise. Phew!

Do the numbers: Divide 23,000 different types of problems, disputes and failures identified by SEAK in the listings by the 2,000 experts.

You can do the counting and dividing yourself at

For example, in the technical field:

R.A.H. Professional Engineer, Florida, Areas of Expertise: – –

  • Structural engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • forensic
  • Structural damage assessment
  • Building collapse
  • Construction defects
  • Storm damage
  • Fire loss
  • Sinkhole investigation
  • Roof collapse
  • Peer review
  • Water intrusion
  • Roof evaluation
  • Repair recommendations
  • Retaining walls
  • Storm water drainage
  • Structural failure
  • Scope of damage

Also in the technical field:

G.L.R. Plumber, Newport, Michigan Areas of Expertise:

  • Plumbing
  • Fire-plumbing system design
  • Plbg codes and product standards
  • Fuel gas codes
  • Fuel gas fires/explosions
  • Mechanical codes
  • Scald
  • Hot water system
  • Temp controls
  • High rise bldgs
  • Legionnaires disease investigations
  • Legionella standards and guidelines
  • Piping/pump/valves/dezincification
  • Floods

In a medical field:

L.Z.J. Medical doctor, Massachusetts Areas of expertise:

  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Sports medicine-shoulder
  • Sports medicine
  • Knee injuries
  • ACL injuries
  • Meniscus
  • Arthroscopie surgery
  • Rotator cuff

These are just three (3) of the 2,000 profiles submitted by the experts to the SEAK Expert Witness Directory.

There’s no question if you’re looking for a particular specialty this is a source. I blogged on this in the past. (Ref. 1)

For example, I had a file that needed someone knowledgeable in tool design and manufacture. On another occasion, someone who could date the age of contaminated soil from an old oil spill.

But it did occur to me on scanning SEAKs 2021 catalogue that you’ve got to be careful. I ask a lot of questions before I retain someone to support a forensic investigation. I then function as the Principal forensic investigator, as defined by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), incorporating the expert’s findings in my forensic investigation and analysis. (Refs 2, 3)

What’s not so good about a question-less situation is that the injured party or their agents – a litigation lawyer or insurance claims manager – doesn’t know that the dispute resolution process is not getting good forensic service. We have our multi-area-of-expertise experts up North too.

I know about a foundation subsidence problem investigated by an engineer who attributed the subsidence to poor concrete foundation construction. No thought was given to the geotechnical properties of the deep layer of poor soil fill beneath the concrete foundation, a field of study completely alien to the engineer’s field of study and practice. But the expert presented well in a dark suit.

I learned about this on reading the report a couple of years after the dispute was resolved – to the detriment of who, I wondered?

For sure there are very knowledgeable people in the U.S. of A. and also up North. There are also those who walk and talk good, but do work that wouldn’t stand up to peer review.

When you question, ask the expert how many files s/he has processed in the areas of expertise claimed. Do this in the same way as SEAK asking the expert registering in their 2021 Directory how many times they have given testimony in court in the last four (4) years. Numbers tell the story in more ways than one.


  1. An expert for every type of dispute and claim in SEAK’s Expert Witness Directory 2018. Posted November 30, 2017
  2. Lewis, Gary L., Ed., American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Guidelines for Forensic Engineering Practice, 2003
  3. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Guidelines for Failure Investigation, 1989

(Posted by Eric E. Jorden, M.Sc., P.Eng. Consulting Professional Engineer, Forensic Engineer, Geotechnology Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, August 24, 2021