U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert


During deposition (an important stage of discovery), the expert may give his own deposition to opposing counsel. He may also be present during the examination of the opposing parties' expert witnesses. (See Depositions, for more on this subject.)

The expert should protect himself in the event of discovery by insisting on receiving all materials relevant to his investigation, not just those that support his opinion. The expert should avoid highlighting or annotating written materials until he has formed an opinion on the case. The expert will usually discuss his reports with retaining counsel before he commits his opinion to writing.  (Source: Vernon, "Protecting Your Expert from Discovery," For the Defense, June 1989, pp. 16-21.)

Remember that, in most cases, both the expert's file and his opinions will be subject to discovery. That being the case, the prudent expert will test everything the witness writes (including notes or reports) or says against the probability that it may fall to the opposition in discovery or may be introduced at trial.

Back Forward