As an expert consultant, the valuation professional is engaged to develop information that will be used by the attorney in a variety of ways, including settlement negotiations with the opposing side. In these instances, the valuation professional is usually not expected to testify or to develop an opinion of value that will be entered into the court records. The documents created by the valuation professional may be protected by attorney-client privilege. In this situation, the valuation professional is working as the client’s advocate.
When hired as an expert witness, the valuation professional will often have to provide deposition and courtroom testimony, and all of the documents created, including reports relating to the case, are subject to “discovery” by the opposing side. Professional standards prohibit the valuation professional from being an advocate for the client in situations where an opinion of value is rendered. A valuation professional is considered to be acting in an unethical manner if he or she advocates the client’s position. The valuation professional, however, may be an advocate for his or her own opinion of value. The valuation analyst is supposed to be unbiased and completely independent in rendering an opinion of value.
Accredited Valuation Analysts and Certified Business Appraisers are highly trained ethical professionals who have earned the respect of the professional community.