Occasionally you run across an expert who has tons of real world experience and technical experience but a thin CV (a cirriculum vitae or "resume") in terms of educational experience. If the other side hires an "academic" expert with a CV the size of a big city phone book, you often face the argument at trial that your expert is deficient and has less credibility because he or she doesn't have the necessary "pedigree" to offer expert opinions.
That's why an obituary buried in the back of our local paper this week caught my eye. Lowell Randall died early this week at the age of 96. Who was Lowell Randall? Only a premier rocket scientist who was part of a team who developed rocket engines that paved the way for spaceflight that eventually sent U.S. astronauts to the moon. He later led a team of scientists that developed The Titan I intercontinental ballistic missile.
Lowell Randall never had any formal education beyond high school. Amazing. It just goes to show that lack of a formal education is not a barrier to expertise or knowledge in any field.
So the next time you're faced with the argument that your expert is inferior to the other side's flashy expert with a thick CV and scads of technical publications and achievements, tell the jury about the story of Lowell Randall. Sometimes dirty hands and a dust covered field jacket are just as valuable in terms of knowledge as someone who pontificates from the comfort and distance of the world of academia.