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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Value of the Expert Attending an Opposing Expert's Deposition

Value of the Expert Attending an Opposing Expert's Deposition
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

The expert may be asked to attend the deposition of an opposing expert. Following are some preparatory steps the expert should take to maximize the value and effectiveness at the deposition of an opposing expert or adverse party. The expert should:

  • Survey applicable literature.

  • Examine available reports of the evidence testing and any other relevant events.

  • Complete the preliminary examination.

  • Find out the proffering attorney's objectives for the deposition.

  • Outline areas of inquiry the expert thinks the attorney should follow.

  • Examine the preliminary report to identify which areas are still unclear or unresolved, and suggest how the deposition responses could help provide answers.

  • Learn as much as possible about the opposing expert.

If the expert is present at the deposition of the opposing party or their expert, the expert can assist the proffering attorney in a number of ways. The expert should keep the following guidelines in mind at such times:

  • Observe all of the attorney's admonitions.

  • Take notes.

  • Do not confer with the attorney during examination; instead, wait for an appropriate break.

  • Carefully observe the witness's demeanor and make appropriate notes.

  • Observe what items are kept available to refresh the witness's recollection.

  • Note possible areas of further inquiry.

  • Try to determine the outline being followed by the examining attorney.

  • Write a summary memo of all of the notes shortly after the deposition, when impressions are still fresh.

  • Use the deposition as a tool to help the expert become a better witness. The ability to respond to questions will be improved by observations of the opposing expert.

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