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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Specific Tasks for the Expert

In regard to discovery matters, it has been said that the retaining attorney, or the state, may not win the case during discovery — but the case could well be lost during that stage.

All of the following behaviors by the expert can be detrimental in this phase of the case:

  • Talking too much in discovery.
  • Revealing more than is required or asked.
  • Waxing eloquent or acting egotistical.
  • Telling all the expert knows about the entire subject.

The expert may be called upon to assist in discovery in a number of ways. The expert might be asked to:

  • Draft written questions that the opposing party must answer fully and under oath.

  • Outline areas of inquiry and construct specific questions to use during deposition of the opposing party or their witnesses or experts.

  • Conduct experiments, tests, inspections, observations, or record or photograph operative events with or without the opposition being present.

The expert may also assist the retaining attorney by responding to written interrogatories (mostly in civil cases) requested for production by the opposition. The forensic expert may also be asked to frame responses to requests for production of documents or other items.      

See a typical set of interrogatory questions (Appendix — Sample Interrogatories and Request for Production to Expert Witnesses). The expert may be asked to help draft questions of this kind. The forensic expert may expect to be asked and to be prepared to help respond to similar questions.

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