David Teese, Expert Consultant for Hire

Berkeley business-school professor David Teece “doesn’t dispute estimates that his career earnings from expert consulting amount to at least $50 million,” according to a subscribers-only WSJ story. The nature of his “expertise”? In addition to a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and achieving full professor status at Berkeley by the age of 34, he has served as an economic advisor to presidents and prime ministers the world over. He is also apparently willing to testify in court for any client providing “expert economic analysis” that supports whatever position the client needs it to.

Nice work, if you can get it.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Education, Law and the Courts, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Edgardo says:

    You may find this story more interesting than Teece’s earnings


  2. Anderson says:

    I think I’ve seen him in his alternate role as “Dogbert.”

  3. Triumph says:

    Berkeley business-school professor David Teece

    Typical behavior from a liberal academic.

  4. bob in fl says:

    Even nicer work is to become a venture capitalist worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

  5. A man of principal.

  6. Beldar says:

    I don’t know, or even know of, this guy. And your characterization of him as an expert witness “willing to testify in court for any client” in support of “whatever position the client needs” may be entirely true. If so, he’d be what trial lawyers like me call a “testifying whore.”

    To show that in court for purposes of impeachment, one does indeed emphasize such things as the gross amount of money earned from testifying, the variety of matters on which the witness claims expertise and has testified, and advertising by the witness that suggests the witness’ opinions (and not just his time) can be bought.

    The sources you’ve linked provide a start at the first two means of impeachment. They don’t get there by themselves, though. Perhaps your modifier — “apparently willing” — is meant to reflect that, or perhaps there is lots more information in the W$J subscription piece that I haven’t seen. But what’s linked is entirely consistent with the notion that he’s in high demand as a testifying expert witness because of genuine expertise.

    The classic type of proof that an expert witness is a whore arises when you can show that he’s given contradictory testimony in two different cases that can only be explained by the desires of who’s hired him in each. Your sources don’t attempt that.

    That his consulting work done outside either the classroom or the courtroom has earned him in excess of $50m actually cuts the other way. When fees specifically for testifying comprise a very large portion of the witness’ total revenue, or when those fees generate a substantial premium over the rate at which he could have presumably earned money doing other things, that’s good circumstantial evidence that the witness is a testifying whore. (The classic example is the university professor who makes $100k/yr in that job, but makes $300k/yr in fees as a testifying expert for work that takes up only 10% of his working time.) Your sources don’t reveal what hourly rate Teece charges for testifying or preparing to testify, and perhaps it is indeed exorbitant compared to others with his credentials. But it would have to be awfully high indeed to support an inference that he’s better compensated for testifying than for doing other things available to him.

    So you may feel confident in jumping to the conclusion that this guy is a testifying whore. If you tried to establish that in court on cross-examination with no more information than what’s in the sources you’ve linked, though, you’d run a very, very high risk of it blowing up in your face. Judges and juries don’t expect experts to testify for free, and they aren’t surprised that someone really qualified might have been asked to testify many times. To even show a likelihood of significant bias — much less that his opinion had been purchased outright, and that someone offering $10 more could have gotten the opposite opinion — you’d want a whole lot more circumstantial evidence. Calling someone a whore and then not quite proving it can be disastrous in court.

    I apologize for a tedious and pedantic comment, and obviously my perspective as a trial lawyer is different than the one from which your original post was made.

  7. Triumph says:

    I apologize for a tedious and pedantic comment, and obviously my perspective as a trial lawyer is different than the one from which your original post was made.

    Trial lawyer, eh…So is John “Pretty Boy” Edwards and we all know about HIS integrity!