March 30, 2015 Articles

Expert Depositions: Online Preparation Techniques for Litigators

How to find and prepare for all the skeletons in your witness's closet.

By Kevin Hartzell

Your expert deposition preparation is nearing completion. You have read the expert’s CV, reviewed the articles she has published, read the deposition transcripts from her other cases, and checked all of the information mentioned on the webpage for her consulting firm. But now you want to dig a little deeper and find something in her background that she does not expect you to know.

Maybe during her previous employment at an investment bank she worked on municipal bond issuances, rather than on commercial lending deals—the topic on which she now claims to be an expert (based on her investment banking experience). Maybe in 2009 her business unit made all its profits selling exotic financial instruments—and now she says your client deceived investors by selling those same instruments at the same time. Maybe she gave a speech encouraging young professionals to work at big banks because making the economy more efficient will benefit even the most humble of consumers—an idea that would call into question her conclusion that your big bank client caused the world financial crisis and brought untold misery to millions.

The expert you will be deposing in a few days’ time might not even remember making these statements. And if she does, she might think they are lost to history. But there are a number of research tools at your disposal to help unearth the more obscure facts in an expert witness’s background, those that the expert has conveniently left off of her CV. Not every expert has skeletons in her closet. Many do not. But if you know how to find any skeletons the expert may have hidden, you will improve your deposition, and your client’s case, by finding them.

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