Attorneys in a number of practice areas—construction, products liability, pharmaceutical, medical malpractice, and catastrophic accidents to name just a few—routinely deal with expert witnesses in the prosecution or defense of their matters. Even those litigators whose matters generally do not require expert witness testimony will find themselves dealing with experts at some point in their litigation careers. For both experienced practitioners and less seasoned attorneys alike, effectively working with expert witnesses is often a time-consuming and even daunting task. And taking or defending the deposition of the expert is at the very stressful center of the relationship between attorney and expert.
This article presents some practical tips—“cardinal rules”—for counsel to keep in mind when working with expert witnesses and practice pointers for taking or defending expert witness depositions. They come from lessons learned over the course of many depositions and trial examinations of experts from a variety of fields.