Do You Need an Expert to Spot Insanity?

The general rule is that you need an expert witness to testify when the subject is “sufficiently beyond common experience that the opinion of that expert would assist the trier of fact.” Evid C §801(a). When it comes to a person’s sanity, you don’t always need an expert. Continue reading

Do’s and Don’ts for Expert Declarations in Support of Summary Judgment

The testimony of an expert in support of a motion for summary judgment or for summary adjudication of issues is usually presented through a declaration under penalty of perjury. CCP §2015.5. Here are five do’s and don’ts for these expert declarations. Continue reading

8 Ways to Make Calling Witnesses More Dramatic

As a trial attorney, never forget your role as director of the courtroom play. Consider these staging decisions when it comes to calling witnesses. Continue reading

Need Another Expert? Here’s How to Augment Your Expert Designation

When you need another expert to support your client’s case or there’s a change in the general substance of a  previously designated expert, you’ll need to move to augment or amend your expert witness declaration. Continue reading

How to Control an Expert Witness

As with all witnesses, you must be able to control an expert witness during cross-examination. But many experts with experience in testifying treat cross-examiners like presidential candidates deal with the press: they ignore the question asked and answer the question they prefer. Here’s how to keep experts under your control. Continue reading

How to Get a Witness to Start with the Basis for Opinion

lawyer asking judge to voir dire adverse witness on basis for her opinionCan the adverse party require that a witness on direct examination testify to the basis of his or her opinion before stating that opinion? Short answer, no. But there still may be a way to do it. Continue reading

The Benefit of an Effective Medical Expert: More Money

get bigger verdict when using effective medical expert witnessThere’s a definite correlation between the size of personal injury verdicts and the effectiveness of testimony by medical experts. Well-prepared and well-presented medical testimony carries weight and convinces triers of fact. The recent $289 million verdict against Monsanto may be an example. Continue reading

3 Questions to Ask Every Expert Witness at Deposition

three questions to ask an expert witness in a depositionAt an expert’s deposition, questions are primarily focused on the expert’s qualifications and opinions. But don’t forget to ask these three questions—you may be very pleased with the responses you get. Continue reading

Techniques Top Attorneys Use When Questioning an Expert

attorney going up a level in her deposition questioningWhen taking an expert’s deposition, you start with questions to learn everything that he or she thinks about the case and has done or plans to do in connection with it. Once that’s done, consider taking your questioning up a level with these three techniques. Continue reading

Get a Crash Course from Your Expert

Learn fast from your expert about the area of expertiseSome lawyers decide at the beginning of a case that they’ll never be able to understand what the expert is talking about, and they make no effort to do so. Bad plan! Regardless of the expert’s skill, it’s the lawyer’s responsibility to make sure that his or her expertise is presented to the trier of fact in an admissible and persuasive way. To do that, the lawyer needs to understand the expert’s testimony and field of expertise. Here are four ways to educate yourself fast. Continue reading