Persuasive Expert Witnesses: Tips, Techniques and Best Practices

Stay on Point

  • Know the entire case, not just your narrow role.
  • Be prepared for the questions from your side.
  • How does your story hold up to the TV images, radio spots and news casts?
  • Criticize your approach/methodology/opinions.
  • Offer a superior approach/methodology/opinions.


Remember your audience is the jury:
– They are not your peers.
– Juries and judges have high expectations (competency).
– You must explain in terms they can understand.
– Would the UPS guy understand and agree with you?



  • No Second Chances
  • Help Jurors Do Their Work.
  • Are there errors in your report.
  • Are there contradictions to your methodology.
  • Know the legal issues. Speak with your client about the legal issues, and get comfortable with the legal terminology for your case.
  • Whether on direct examination or cross-examination, think before you speak. It is almost always better for there to be a short pause before you answer a question than for you to give a bad answer.
  • Attitude is everything!



  • Help the jury fully understand your methodology without getting yourself or them confused.
  • Anticipate the defense/plaintiff attorney’s challenges.
  • Be able to explain your opinions to a 3rd grader .
  • Break down the Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation and Verification phases of the methodology in understandable terms.
  • Use visual aids without getting trapped with them.
  • Respond to Opposition without seeming evasive or defensive.
  • Assist the jury in understanding your opinions (common sense approach).
  • Embrace the jury’s eagerness to learn about what you have to say.
  • Develop a level of “trust” with the jury.
  • Keep the jury focused on the facts of your testimony without becoming a pawn for either the plaintiff or defense.
  • Recognize your individual talents and skills and incorporate them into your testimony.
  • Deal with today’s jurors who think they really know about your area of expertise because they watch C.S.I.
  • Deal with the questions regarding your rate of compensation.
  • Be the very best expert witness you can be for the jury and for yourself.


Pamela W. Carter

Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

201 St. Charles Avenue, Suite 3600

New Orleans, Louisiana

Office: (504) 566-5232