Some 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.
The task of deposing the opposition’s expert is simplified immeasurably by keeping in mind the deposition’s fundamental purpose: to discover all of the expert’s opinions and all of the bases for those opinions. Your goal should not be to impeach the expert but rather to concentrate on learning everything the expert thinks about the case, has been told or learned about the case, and has done or plans to do in connection with the case. To help reach that goal, here’s a checklist of questions to consider asking when you’re deposing the opposition’s expert.