How to Prepare Your Expert Witness

Even if an individual labels himself or herself as an “expert witness,” it is still important that you properly prepare your expert for trial or for a deposition. An expert witness can help bolster your client’s case, but if not handled properly, he or she can actually cause damage to it. Here are a few tips to help prepare your witness.

Meet with the Expert

Well before the trial or deposition, you should meet with the expert. Get a good sense of his or her background and the industries in which he or she has worked. Be sure that you verify credentials and educational background. Provide the expert with the necessary information that he or she will need to assess in order to formulate a well-reasoned opinion on the subject matter. You may want to include at least meeting in which the expert and the client are together. Asking this question is a favorite tactic of the adversary’s attorney who will likely question the accuracy of an opinion based only on documents and not on an in-person meeting.

Review with the Expert

As the expert provides opinions that help shape your case, be sure that you review them with him or her. You should have a firm understanding of what the expert is saying so that you can relay this information in filings with the court and to the jury. Have the expert review his or her deposition testimony and to correct any inaccurate statements or insinuations.

Attack the Expert

Think like the other attorney would. Consider the potential weaknesses of the expert’s opinion and practice cross-examination in this manner. The expert should be able to clearly explain the basis for his or her opinion and the acceptability of it in the same professional field.

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