Steven Babitsky Esq.
Your expert witness deposition is crucial in many cases to flesh out the issues ,help determine the value of the case, and your effectiveness as the expert witness. In my opinion, based on 40 years of experience, it is virtually impossible to become a successful expert witness without being able to deliver a high quality deposition.
One of the most important ways to help you succeed at your deposition is with proper preparation by retaining counsel. Experts who are properly prepared will normally do at least one quality grade better (from a C to a B) than those experts who are not prepared. One of the vexing problems that expert witnesses of all disciplines face is the refusal or inability of retaining counsel to spend the time and effort to properly prepare them. Experts can and should insist on being prepared by retaining counsel before they are deposed. If counsel refuses, experts should look for outside assistance. Remember, it is your reputation on the line here.
Proper preparation of the expert witness should, at a minimum, consist of:
- Discussing with counsel and resolving any and all concerns you have about the deposition. These concerns could involve past professional/personal problems, difficult anticipated questions, etc. Experts who do not resolve these concerns will likely be distracted and underperform.
- Homing in on the key 4-5 issues in the case that you will have to deal with. It has been my experience that even the most complex cases have a small number of key issues.
- Working with counsel to get on the same page on the opinions that you will and will not be offering. If there are any disputes with counsel, these need to be worked out prior to your deposition.
- Being able to express your opinions in a clear articulate fashion. Counsel can assist with honing your message.
- Being able to articulate your methodology used to formulate your opinions.
- Working with counsel to be able to identify and deal with the most difficult questions/areas of inquiry both of you can anticipate.
- Understanding, with the assistance of counsel, the theme of the case and how you fit into the big picture.
- Getting an update on the latest developments in the case.
- Working with counsel on the logistics.
- Having counsel do a complete practice run-through of your deposition with retaining counsel aggressively questioning you. This practice deposition is crucial to your success. Just talking about the issues is not enough. We at SEAK have found this practice deposition dramatically improves the performance of the expert witness who is going to be deposed.
Those experts who are properly prepared for their deposition are in the best position to succeed.