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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Final Report

The expert's written report includes:

  • Basic case and evidence identification and dates.
  • Conclusions and opinions.
  • Reasons supporting conclusions and opinions.
  • Rationale or interrelationship between conclusions and the supporting reasons for those opinions.
  • Deposition: Sworn testimony before trial, usually given in an office or place of business. Depositions are usually designed to accomplish specific objectives, such as:
    1. Gathering information
    2. Uncovering weaknesses in testimony.
    3. Locking the expert witness into a position.
    4. Assessing the expert's ability as a witness.

Opposing counsel typically conducts the deposition. Few, if any, questions are asked by the proffering attorney. The setting is generally informal, scheduled in advance, and conducted in the presence of a certified court reporter. Recording by video and by stenographic notes is common. The expert may also assist the examining attorney at deposition of opposing experts by assessing their qualifications, capabilities and demeanor, and framing questions for them.

Guidelines for courtroom testimony are treated in depth in General Testifying Tips. Before deposition, the expert should review the following:

  • Technical data and facts.
  • Investigative and technical materials.
  • Standard scientific works relevant to the subject.

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