Expert witness depositions represent one of the most crucial steps in any case. Whether you are handling the deposition directly, supporting another attorney taking the deposition, or merely preparing the expert’s witness file and/or an outline for the deposition, remembering a few key points will set you up for success.
Although it would be ideal, we do not always have ample time to prepare for an expert witness deposition. Condensed discovery schedules (see generally E.D. Va. L.R.) late disclosures by opposing counsel (see Lee v. Smith, No. S18G1549 (Ga. Feb. 10, 2020 slip. op.) (trial court’s exclusion of an expert witness solely due to identification after the deadline set by a scheduling, discovery, or case management order constituted an abuse of discretion)), and a host of other extenuating circumstances may prevent you from ramping up your investigation and starting preparation right away. But once the expert is disclosed, every day until the deposition is an opportunity to gather that hard-to-find publication, go one level deeper on your background investigation, and track down another transcript that may have important prior testimony. Also, your own experts may be able to suggest lines of questioning that you may not have thought of on your own given their familiarity with the complex subject matter, so consider engaging them early in your preparation process.