Your approach to cross-examination will vary depending on the “type” of witness being examined, e.g., the hostile witness, the flippant witness, the timid witness, or the sympathetic and truthful witness. But regardless of which type you’re dealing with—which can even change during your examination—there are some universal principles of cross-examination that apply in any situation.
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.
Few attorneys have the time or budget to do detailed preparation for cross-examination of every witness. And even if the budget makes it possible, time spent on other aspects of trial preparation will force counsel to take shortcuts. When time is short, these 12 tasks are the bare minimum necessary for cross-examination preparation.