Tips for Deposing an Expert Witness
Every variety of witness requires you as an attorney to bring a different set of skills to the table when deposing them. Deposing an expert witness can be particularly thorny. Read on to learn some tips on how to depose your opposing party’s expert witness below, and contact a seasoned Phoenix court reporter to ensure that you receive high-quality reporting services when you conduct your Arizona deposition.
- Keep the expert’s testimony simple: Remember that, even if you understand the technical nature of the expert’s report and area of knowledge, a jury will not. Make sure that the expert’s testimony would be understood by someone operating at a high-school-level of education, and get the expert to explain any technical terms he or she uses.
- Force the expert to justify his or her methods: Your goal in deposing experts is to draw attention to weaknesses in their methodology, or to areas where they made a judgment call that isn’t supported by objective evidence or well-regarded theory. Ask detailed questions about why the expert chose to rely on certain theories or methods, and force them to provide support for those choices. Ideally, this mode of questioning would allow you to ferret out instances where an expert’s main motivation for choosing a particular guiding theory or methodology was the fact that it resulted in the best conclusion for the other party’s argument.
- Drill down on flimsy arguments: It’s important to carefully read the expert’s report prior to the deposition and note areas where the expert has reached a conclusion without citing to an external report. By pressuring the expert to explain how a conclusion was reached, you may be able to force the expert to concede the point, or at least weaken its persuasiveness to a judge or jury.
- Get the expert’s work history on the record. If the expert has long been working in the same field as your opponent, it can be helpful to make sure that the record reflects this fact. Even if the expert hasn’t worked for the other party, they may still be biased in their favor.