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How to Be a Great Expert Witness (Part 3)

by Tony Klapper Managing Director, Litigation Consulting A2L Consulting In our last post, we discussed why expert witnesses should rely on visual aids and litigation graphics in preparing their testimony. Another key point for expert witnesses is that no matter how well credentialed a witness is, if the jury thinks he is a jackass or if he acts in a way that is inconsistent with jurors’ perception of how an expert should act, his testimony will be useless. In every trial, the jury and the judge evaluate the credibility of every witness who testifies. If you have done something as a witness to lessen your credibility quotient, what you say will either be filtered through that lens or not even considered. For example, some experts make the mistake of engaging opposing counsel in a pitched battle during cross-examination. While a feisty expert who resists answering “yes” or “no” questions might be seen by her attorney as a hero, the jury more likely sees an expert who is being difficult -- particularly when the “yes” and “no” questions are intuitively answerable. Similarly, an expert who regularly resorts to “I don’t recall” and “I don’t know” responses to questions that objectively seem knowable and recallable also undercuts her credibility. The same is true of an expert who fights over the meaning of words that have common meanings, or starts asking questions of the questioner.

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by Ken Lopez Founder/CEO A2L Consulting We at A2L are launching a new e-book this month. This time, we are publishing the book jointly with IMS ExpertServices, one of the nation’s premier providers of experts and consultants for top law firms and Fortune 500 corporations. The title of the new book is Expert Trial Testimony: Direct and Cross-Examination. The book answers every question you might have thought of in connection with expert testimony at trial in U.S. courts, and it does so in a clear, conversational manner. Plus, it’s a free download. As more and more money is at stake in civil trials, and as the subject matter grows more and more complex and difficult for many jurors to understand without assistance, the value and importance of expert witnesses has grown dramatically. The difference between an effective, well-prepared, convincing expert witness and one who does not come across well to a jury can often be the difference between winning and losing a trial where hundreds of millions, or billions, of dollars are at stake. The book is directed at experts themselves and gives dozens of do’s and don’ts that will make any expert’s testimony effective and convincing at a trial. It’s not only experts who will benefit from reading this book but also trial attorneys, trial technicians, in-house counsel, and anyone who wants to understand the best ways to put on expert testimony. The book addresses the typical expert witness as follows:

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